China / China

Party's story remains one of success as it nears 100

(China Daily) Updated: 2017-07-03 07:02

Experts: Representing the people while fighting poverty, corruption is key

Communism was called a haunting ghost more than a century and a half ago, and few believed the Communist Party of China would survive when it was founded in 1921.

Now, the world is watching the largest ruling party in the world march toward its first centenary.

The CPC celebrated its 96th anniversary on Saturday, and later this year the 19th National Congress will see the leadership elected for another five-year term, a critical period for building a well-off nation by the 100th anniversary.

Once the goal is realized, nearly 20 percent of the world's population will live in a moderately prosperous society.

Since its founding, the Party has faced doubts, misunderstanding and even hostility. Yet it has emerged as an exciting success story.

China was a poor nation scarred by foreign aggression and civil war, but today is the world's second-largest economy and a major international player. The Party has evolved from a small group of about 50 members to 89 million, more than the population of Germany.

"Political legitimacy comes from competence and prosperity," said Zhang Weiwei, director of Fudan University's Institute of China Studies. "The CPC experience shows the ultimate test of a good system is how well it ensures good governance as judged by the people of that country."

Last year, President Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, was endorsed as the "core leader". Analysts say the position is key for the Party and the country to stay on the right track.

For the first 14 years, the Party was without a strong core leader, which resulted in repeated setbacks.

In 1935, leader Mao Zedong established his authority within the CPC Central Committee and the military. Since then, the Party leadership has been integral to overcoming difficulties.

Xi is determined to lead China toward the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation. He has proposed the strategic layout of the philosophy of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development at a time when sustaining fast growth is becoming increasingly difficult.

China's path

The Party created China's recipe for success: Socialism with Chinese characteristics. It is through this model the Party represents the interests of the people and puts the people first.

Reform is pushed forward thanks to decisions that reflect the broad consensus of Chinese society. Social stability is maintained, while the market-government relationship - where the market plays a decisive role in the allocation of resources and the government better serves its duty - can steer the country out of harm during the current global economic downturn.

This path has gained wide support from the public, thanks largely to the fact that most people have found their living standards significantly improved in recent decades, said professor Liu Dongchao at the Chinese Academy of Governance.

Xin Ming, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, agreed and said Xi's vision of the Chinese dream has united the majority of people in China.

"The Party has inspired a spirit of striving for a better future," Xin added.

As evidence of the success of China's path, more than 700 million people have been lifted out of poverty. The Party has its eyes on the remaining 40 million in poverty.

"As long as we pay attention, think correctly, take effective measures and work in a down-to-earth way, abject poverty is absolutely conquerable," Xi said during a tour of Shanxi province in June.


The key to doing things well in China lies in the Party. The leadership has repeatedly warned that the biggest threat is corruption.

Since Xi took the helm as Party leader, an anti-corruption campaign has swept the country, exposing many officials charged with abuse of power and misusing public funds. Since the 18th National Congress, at least 240 senior officials and more than 1 million lower-level officials have been investigated.

The Party has also launched a series of campaigns, including the "mass-line", to build a closer official-people relationship, and the "three stricts and three earnests", a political campaign that urges officials to be strict in morals, power and self-discipline, as well as being honest in decisions, business and behavior.

Zhang at Fudan University said the Party has never been afraid of breaking the shelters of vested interests and sweeping out obstacles hampering development.

Uncertainties ripple through the world today, calling into question the definition of legitimate governance. In this context, he said, the Party's century-old wisdom and practices may be increasingly relevant.


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