Work solidly and painstakingly to maintain Party purity

By Xi Jinping
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, October 17, 2012
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Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who is also the president of the Party School of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, speaks at the school's opening ceremony for this year's spring semester in Beijing, capital of China, March 1, 2012. [By Ma Zhancheng/Xinhua]

This year our party will hold its 18th National Congress. It is also a crucial year for China's 12th Five Year Plan. The challenge facing us is to move forward while preserving stability in the context of a complex and changing international environment and exacting reform and development tasks at home. It is a great but arduous mission that will require us to strengthen and improve party-building while preserving the party's advanced nature and purity. At the 7th Plenum of the 17th CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, Comrade Hu Jintao made an extremely important and far-reaching speech, in which he emphasized the need to preserve the party's purity in the new situation. We should all carefully study his speech and conscientiously implement its recommendations.

1. Preserving party purity is a fundamental requirement of a Marxist party

When Marx and Engels established the Communist League, the world's first workers party, from the outset the statutes of the League laid down strict rules for preserving party purity, requiring party branches to vouch for each member's integrity. When Lenin established Russia's working class party, he especially emphasized party purity, stressing that "Our task is to maintain our party's steadfastness and purity. We must raise, raise, and raise again the reputation and effectiveness of our members". Marxist parties place so much emphasis on party purity because it is key to maintaining the party's political character, its vitality and energy, and therefore its ability to carry out its historic mission.

The Chinese Communist Party, as a Marxist party, throughout the periods of the Chinese revolution, construction and reform, has always seen party purity as a fundamental goal of party-building. Comrade Mao Zedong long ago made it clear that we want to build "a disciplined, ideologically pure, organizationally pure party, a party built to a uniform standard." The purity of the party is embodied in its ideology, policies, organization, and style of work.

In terms of ideology, party organizations at all levels, members and leading cadres must take Marxism, including Chinese theoretical advances, as their guiding ideology, resolutely struggle for the ideals of socialism and communism, persist in the Marxist method of seeking truth from facts, resist anti-Marxist ideas, and resolutely struggle against all types of errors that contradict Marxism.

In terms of policy, this means party organizations at all levels, members and leading cadres must resolutely implement the party's program, regulations, guidelines and policies, must continue to place economic construction at the forefront during the primary stage of socialism, adhere to the four cardinal principles, stick to the basic line of reform and opening up, and resolutely oppose mistakes and political trends that contradict the party's basic line.

In terms of organization, party organizations, members and leading cadres must resolutely adhere to the principle of democratic centralism, abide by the requirements of organizational discipline, consciously defend party unity, firmly oppose all harmful and factional behavior, strictly adhere to the provisions of the party constitution that define the standards applying to Communist Party members and expel rotten and corrupt elements who, by infringing the party's program and constitution, damage the party's work.

In terms of style of work, party organizations at all levels, members and leading cadres must combine theory and practice, stay close to the masses, practise criticism and self-criticism, work modestly and prudently, avoid arrogant and rash behavior, work diligently despite difficulties, stick to the the approach of working from the masses to the masses, be guided by research and investigation, firmly oppose subjectivism, bureaucratism, formalism, abuse of power, trickery and deception, arbitrary behavior, the pursuit of extravagance and other unhealthy tendencies.

In the final analysis, preserving party purity, will determine our party's nature and purpose. Our party is the vanguard of the Chinese working class and of the Chinese people and nation. The party has no special interests apart from those of the working class and the broad masses; it puts the interests of the masses first at all times and wholeheartedly works to serve the people. It is precisely these qualities that define the advanced nature and purity of the Party. The purity and advanced nature of the party complement each other and cannot be separated. Purity is the premise and foundation of the party's advanced nature, and its advanced nature is the expression and guarantee of its purity; essentially they are one and the same.

Our 90-year-old party's history demonstrates that its strength, authority and the advancement of its cause depend on many factors, and that the party's creativity, cohesiveness and fighting strength are fundamentally affected by its purity. Whenever the party's purity is well defended, its cause flourishes, but in periods when its purity is weakened, its fighting strength will also decline, and its cause will suffer setbacks.

As our country passes through a critical period of building a moderately well-off society, deepening reform and opening up and changing its model of economic development, our party will be tested in its ability to rule, pursue reform, manage the economy and conduct foreign affairs. We cannot afford to take risks by permitting slackness, lack of skills, losing touch with the masses, passivity or corruption. Maintaining the party's advanced nature and purity is our most effective weapon against these risks and the most effective response to the challenges of reform and opening up and building a modernized socialism.

Today the ranks of our party are overwhelmingly pure, united and possess fighting spirit. This is the foundation of the continued success of the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. But we must also recognize that, in an environment of accelerating domestic and international change, managing the party is an ever more arduous task and we are encountering new challenges and problems in maintaining party purity. As Comrade Hu Jintao pointed out in his speech, failing conviction, dishonest styles of work, a weak sense of principle, government corruption, and other problems incompatible with the demands of party purity exist to different degrees among party members and cadres. This inevitably affects the people's trust in the party and weakens its fighting strength. We must pledge never to change our party's color, to guarantee our country a long period of peace and prosperity, to face up to the challenges confronting our party in the new situation, recognize the pressing importance of preserving party purity, ceaselessly strengthen party spirit, political consciousness, the ability to deal with crises, consciousness of duty, and continue to work tirelessly for party purity.

2. Maintain Party purity in ideology, organization and style of work

To preserve party purity in the new situation, we must rise to the challenges set out by Comrade Hu Jintao in his speech. The party must be in charge of the party and strictly manage the party. We must combine strict supervision of the membership with ideological and theoretical rearmament; encourage positive styles of work, reinforce the cultivation and tempering of party spirit, firmly combat and guard against corruption, develop supervisory work, strictly enforce party statutes and regulations, encourage self-purification, self-improvement, self-renewal , self-development, and at all times preserve the party's purity in terms of ideology, organization and style of work.

Defending the party's ideological purity means defending the party's correct policy orientation and the ideological basis of party unity. Ideology is the guide and soul of the party. If the ideology of party members and leading cadres is not pure, our ideals and convictions will weaken, we will blur the distinction between right and wrong and waver in our political position. In the new historical conditions, it is essential to re-emphasize our party's traditional emphasis on ideology, to continually strengthen the political and ideological education of party members and cadres, especially concerning the theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and encourage party members to study, understand and apply ideas, develop a firm world view, clear concepts of authority and of our cause, set an example in upholding the core values of socialism, remain clear headed when faced with the cardinal questions of right and wrong, maintain a correct stance in the face of crises, and preserve a firm ideological direction when faced with temptation. In preserving ideological purity, the most important thing is to maintain a firm belief in communism and socialism with Chinese characteristics. We must keep our feet firmly planted on the the ground when dealing with today's issues, but never forget our long-term goal. Party members and cadres with strong ideals and convictions, no matter what work they are called upon to carry out, will remain conscious of their sacred mission. In the epoch of war and revolution, countless Communists fought on all fronts, shed blood and sacrificed their lives for the victory of the revolution, supported precisely by their correct political convictions. In the period of peaceful construction, countless Communist Party members braved difficult circumstances and worked diligently and selflessly for the socialist cause. Once again what sustained them was their firmly held and correct political beliefs. During reform and opening up, when countless Communists battled with all their might to develop the nation and build a strong and prosperous country, they were also sustained by their firmly held and correct political convictions. This demonstrates that the power of conviction is virtually limitless. For Communists, purity of conviction is the most fundamental purity. But these days, some party members and leading cadres have become disoriented by the rising tide of the market economy and have developed a kind of fever, lost a clear sense of values, and can no longer correctly handle their private interests, leading to spiritual collapse and loss of direction. Some flout party discipline and the country's laws and stray onto the path of corruption and degeneration. There is a profound moral lesson to be drawn here. Of course in our modern nation and society with its multi-layered patterns of rewards, party members and cadres have their own legitimate interests. Realizing one's own potential is a goal that ought to be respected. But for Communists the greatest reward is to wholeheartedly serve the people and sincerely work for their interests. As party members and cadres, we must reflect daily on why we joined the Party, what we want to achieve as cadres, and what legacy we will leave behind. We must never place ourselves at the service of individual or small group interests, but must steadfastly adhere to the fundamental communist ideal of sincerely and genuinely serving the people.

Maintaining the organizational purity of the party means pledging to keep the whole party in step and strengthen our creativity, cohesion and fighting strength. Our party is now a mighty organization with more than 80 million members and over 3.8 million grassroots branches. In a context where we have held power for a long period and are carrying out a policy of reform and opening up, it has never been more difficult or more important to preserve the purity of the ranks of party members and cadres. Party organizations at all levels must stringently supervise members and cadres, strictly control entrance to the party, reinforce education, strengthen supervision, and make it easy to expel unsuitable members. These days some people join the party not because they believe in Marxism, or are committed to socialism with Chinese characteristics and a lifelong struggle for communism, but because they believe joining the party will bring them personal benefit by accumulating political capital for themselves or their family. Lenin once said, "Party members in name only we can get free of charge but we don't need them". When recruiting new members we need to carefully analyze their motives for joining the party, rigorously stick to standards and procedures to maintain quality and at all costs avoid infecting the party. The training, appointment and promotion of cadres must be vetted to the four corners of the earth. The principles of appointment on the basis of merit, the need for both ability and integrity, and integrity above all, must be applied to cadre selection and team building. We must conscientiously implement the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee's "Suggestions on strengthening ethical checks on cadres", emphasize loyalty to the party, honesty, serving the people, integrity and self discipline, reinforce checks on cadres' political quality and ethical behavior, and at all costs avoid promoting unhealthy elements. In recent years in some localities and departments the management of the ranks of party members and cadres has become lax, leading to harmful trends that have not always been corrected in a timely fashion. Small mistakes can turn into massive problems and minor matters can lead to major incidents that damage the party's image in the eyes of the masses. As the saying goes, "a stitch in time saves nine". Regular training and reminders are the best way to nip evil in the bud. By recognizing and correcting unhealthy symptoms and tendencies in their early stages we can avert potential danger. We must establish robust systems to regularly monitor party spirit and democratically appraise party members. Party members and cadres who, despite repeated attempts to educate them, remain unrepentant and refuse to reform should be dealt with severely according to the party's constitution and regulations. Incorrigibly rotten and corrupt elements must be resolutely purged from the party.

Defending the purity of the party's style of work means sticking to our tried and trusted path of maintaining flesh and blood links with the masses and ceaselessly learning from them. The key to improving, carrying forward, and maintaining the purity of our style of work is maintaining a close relationship with the people, breathing the same air as they breathe, sharing their fate, representing their will and their interests, and always relying on the historical advance of the masses. This is the guarantee of our party's unchangeable position. During the entire project of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, we must ceaselessly strengthen education on the party's program and the mass line, guide our members and cadres to build a party solidly based on the interests of the people and the idea of governing for the people, strengthen Marxism and the mass viewpoint, make realizing, defending and developing the interests of the vast majority of the people the touchstone for checking the purity of our style of work, conscientiously educate, organize, serve, rally and lead the masses forward, and firmly oppose any unhealthy tendency to distance ourselves from the masses or ignore their sufferings. If party members and leading cadres are remote from the masses, are unconcerned about their livelihood, fail to understand their demands and aspirations, do not modestly learn from the masses, do not pay attention to the experience of the masses, discuss problems and make policy behind closed doors, or take it for granted that they can order people around, this will lead to subjectivism, bureaucratism, formalism, and severely damage the cause of the party and the people. To maintain the purity of the party's style of work, we must deal in a timely fashion with problems in our style of work, paying particular attention to harmful practices such as general negligence and seeking good relations with everyone. When people seek good relations with everybody, problems are not pointed out and mistakes are not criticized. Where this philistine style of work is prevalent, we frequently find the local party organization and leadership is politically weak and mired in a slack style of work. Criticism and self-criticism is one of our party's finest traditions. We must continue to integrate it into our present-day practices for the long term and ceaselessly carry it forward so as to continuously strengthen the role of politics and principle in the internal life of the party.

3. Leading cadres must set an example and take the lead in maintaining party purity

Leading cadres hold the key to maintaining the purity of the party. They are the organizers, leaders, executives and practitioners of the effort to maintain party purity. Their leading position in the party and among the people dictates that they have a special responsibility to maintain party purity and, accordingly, must constantly compare, check, correct and improve themselves, set positive examples, never set negative examples, and actively demonstrate that they are models of party purity.

Party purity means opposing and struggling against all forms of corruption and defending the health of the party. Leading cadres must possess a correct world view, a sound approach to exercising authority and carrying out their duties, set an example of incorruptibility and self discipline, remain indifferent to wealth, fame and power, treat their responsibilities and the people's cause with reverence, keep a steady state of mind in all circumstances, control their actions, remain unsullied, incorruptible and righteous, and at all times display the honesty, uprightness and integrity expected of Communist Party members.

Some leading cadres have violated discipline, broken the law and fallen into the abyss of corruption and degeneration essentially because their outlook on life and the world went badly wrong and they lost all ability to resist temptation. All leading cadres should take heed of and be warned by these examples. Whatever their level or post, all cadres must consciously strengthen, develop and nurture their party spirit, exercise authority impartially, practise clean government, consciously carry forward the diligent, thrifty and tenacious style of work characteristic of the Chinese people and our Party, resist money-worship, pleasure-seeking and extreme individualism. Naturally, officials need to pay attention to the economic development of the areas they are responsible for, but they must always maintain their honesty and uprightness.

Strict supervision is an important tool to defend the purity of the Party and prevent its members and cadres from becoming corrupt. Higher levels should check on lower levels, lower levels on higher levels, the masses should check on leading cadres, and cadres should check on each other.

Leading cadres at all levels should actively counter the idea that supervision implies a lack of trust. They should develop a mentality that welcomes supervision. They should defend the role of supervision in line with laws and regulations and willingly place themselves under all forms of supervision required by the people and the Party.

On all major issues of policy we must strictly apply the principle of democratic centralism. We cannot permit a "what I say goes" approach, or allow one person or a small group to have the last word. On the contrary, we must listen to the voice of the many, rely on collective wisdom and follow strict procedures when making decisions. On all significant matters affecting the welfare of the people, whatever can be made public should be made public in line with laws and regulations, and we should carefully listen to the opinions of the masses. When making important decisions regarding promotions, appointments, administrative investigations, economic and financial matters concerning fixed assets, sales of land usage rights and so on, it is even more important to welcome supervision in order to guard against loss of control, policy mistakes and irregular conduct.

Strict and impartial discipline is a powerful guarantee of party purity. Leading cadres at all levels need to develop their awareness of the need for discipline and should conscientiously adopt disciplinary rules relating to political work, organizational work, economic work, mass work and clean government as behavioral norms. It is crucial to abide by the Party's political discipline, raise our level of political consciousness and political judgment, unwaveringly support the party leadership, unwaveringly support the road to socialism with Chinese characteristics, unwaveringly support reform and opening up, and maintain ideological and political unanimity with the Central Committee. Leading cadres at all levels must build and reinforce discipline, strictly enforce the investigation and prosecution of unlawful behavior, including all forms of corruption, ensure that everyone is treated equally, no-one has special privileges, that disciplinary procedures are followed through without exception, and that the party's regulations become an iron law respected by all comrades at all times and in all situations.

Our country is in the process of carrying out the massive task of reform and opening up and socialist modernization. We face challenges and opportunities, hopes and difficulties. The road is long and the burden is heavy. We face many new problems and many important tasks. The situation demands that leading cadres at all levels do their duty at all times and consciously take responsibility for reform, development and stability without a hint of slackness or wavering.

Whether leading cadres have the spirit to assume their responsibilities and faithfully, wholeheartedly and courageously carry out their duties will decide whether they measure up to the standards of advanced thinking and purity expected of Communist Party members. If when an issue presents itself their first thought is not about their duty and what contribution they can make, but about what they stand to gain or lose personally; if they take detours when faced with opposition, fail to confront problems, flee in the face of danger; if they work for the sake of appearances, hanker after recognition, try to fool the public with claptrap, chase fame and money, plow ahead without thinking, not only will this harm the people's cause, but it will also damage the party's image and cause the people to lose trust in us. A willingness to accept responsibility is a basic requirement for serving the party and the people and is part of the mental outlook expected of Communist Party members. In selecting talent and building a cadre we must emphasize a sense of duty and employ people with the courage to take on responsibilities. We must fully implement the Party's recruitment policy, painstakingly investigate cadres' moral behavior, and carefully select those with a track record of success, those who have been tempered by experience, have a strong sense of principle, a deep feeling for the masses, are thoroughly honest, know how to manage benignly but dare to enforce the law, and work thoughtfully, but with passion and tenacity.

Party purity is closely bound up with the party's advanced nature; neither are static, and neither can be achieved once and for all and then left alone. Their content and demands develop in line with the epoch and in step with the cause of the party and the people. Building the party and maintaining party purity are endless tasks, comparable to a continuous examination that requires us to constantly revise a long essay. Party organizations at all levels must earnestly carry out the spirit of Comrade Hu Jintao's speech, work tirelessly, profoundly and effectively to maintain party purity, and regularly hand in satisfactory answers to the party and the people.

The author of this article, Xi Jinping, is Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee, vice president of PRC and president of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.

This is an excerpt from his article which was first published in Chinese in Qiushi semimonthly's sixth issue of 2012.


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