Now I would like to make a report to the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on behalf of the 16th Central Committee.
The 17th Congress is one of vital importance being held at a crucial stage of China's reform and development. The theme of the congress is to hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, follow the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents, thoroughly apply the Scientific Outlook on Development, continue to emancipate the mind, persist in reform and opening up, pursue development in a scientific way, promote social harmony, and strive for new victories in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
The great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the banner guiding development and progress in contemporary China and rallying the whole Party and the people of all ethnic groups in the country in our common endeavor. Emancipating the mind is a magic instrument for developing socialism with Chinese characteristics, reform and opening up provide a strong driving force for developing it, and scientific development and social harmony are basic requirements for developing it. Building a moderately prosperous society in all respects is a goal for the Party and the state to reach by 2020, and represents the fundamental interests of the people of all ethnic groups.
The world today is undergoing extensive and profound changes, and contemporary China is going through a wide-ranging and deep-going transformation. This brings us unprecedented opportunities as well as unprecedented challenges, with the former outweighing the latter. The whole Party must unswervingly hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics and lead the people in starting from this new historical point, grasping and making the most of the important period of strategic opportunities, staying realistic and pragmatic, forging ahead with determination, continuing to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects and accelerate socialist modernization, and accomplishing the lofty mission bestowed by the times.
I. The Work of the Past Five Years
The five years since the 16th Congress was an extraordinary period. In order to accomplish the arduous tasks of reform and development in a complicated and volatile international situation, the Party led the people of all ethnic groups in holding high the great banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents, overcoming difficulties and risks, creating a new situation in the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics and attaining a new realm in adapting Marxism to conditions in China.
At its 16th Congress the Party established the important thought of Three Represents as its guide and made the strategic decision to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects. In order to implement the guiding principles of the congress, the Central Committee convened seven plenary sessions, at which it made decisions on and arrangements for major issues of overall significance such as deepening institutional restructuring, improving the socialist market economy, strengthening the governance capability of the Party, drawing up the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10), and building a harmonious socialist society; and it formulated and applied the Scientific Outlook on Development and other major strategic thoughts. All this helped the Party and the state score great new achievements.
Economic strength increased substantially. The economy sustained steady and rapid growth. The GDP expanded by an annual average of over 10 percent. Economic performance improved significantly, national revenue rose markedly year by year, and prices were basically stable. Efforts to build a new socialist countryside yielded solid results, and development among regions became more balanced. The endeavor to make China an innovative nation registered good progress, with considerable improvement in the country's capacity for independent innovation. Notable achievements were scored in the construction of infrastructure including energy, transport and telecommunications facilities and other key projects. Manned spaceflights were successfully conducted. Fresh progress was registered in energy, resources, ecological and environmental conservation. The 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-05) was fulfilled successfully and implementation of the 11th is in smooth progress.
Major breakthroughs were made in reform and opening up. Comprehensive reforms in rural areas gradually deepened; agricultural tax, livestock tax and taxes on special agricultural products were rescinded throughout the country; and policies were constantly strengthened to support and benefit agriculture, rural areas and farmers. Significant headway was made in reform of the state assets management system, state-owned enterprises, banking, public finance, taxation, investment, pricing, and the system for managing science and technology. The non-public sector of the economy grew stronger. A sound market system was being put in place, macroeconomic regulation continued to improve, and transformation of government functions was accelerated. The total volume of imports and exports increased sharply. Solid steps were taken in implementing the "go global" strategy, and the open economy entered a new stage of development.
Living standards improved significantly. Both urban and rural incomes increased considerably, and most families had more property than before. The system of subsistence allowances for urban and rural residents was basically in place, guaranteeing basic living conditions for the poor. Residents improved their consumption patterns, had increasingly better food, clothing, housing, transport and other daily necessities, and enjoyed markedly improved public services.
Fresh progress was registered in improving democracy and the legal system. Political restructuring progressed steadily. Constant improvement was made in the system of people's congresses, the system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC and the system of regional ethnic autonomy. Primary-level democracy increased its vitality. The cause of human rights witnessed sound development. The patriotic united front grew stronger. A socialist law system with Chinese characteristics was basically in place. The rule of law was effectively implemented as a fundamental principle. Reform of the government administration system and the judicial system continued to deepen.
A new situation was created in cultural development. Efforts to establish the system of socialist core values made steady headway and marked achievements were scored in the Project to Study and Develop Marxist Theory. Extensive efforts were made to raise ideological and ethical standards and the whole of society became more culturally advanced. Cultural restructuring made important progress, cultural programs and the cultural industry developed rapidly, and the people enjoyed a richer cultural life. Fresh progress was made in public fitness programs and competitive sports.
Social development proceeded in an all-round way. Education of various kinds and at different levels developed rapidly. Free compulsory education was made available in all rural areas. More job opportunities were created. The social security system was strengthened. The battle against SARS came to a great victory. The public health system and basic medical care constantly improved, contributing to better health of the people. Social management improved step by step. Social stability was ensured and the people lived and worked in peace and contentment.
Historic achievements were scored in the development of national defense and the armed forces. The revolution in military affairs with Chinese characteristics was accelerated. The armed forces were reduced by 200,000 troops. Efforts were intensified in all respects to make the armed forces more revolutionary, modernized and standardized, which notably increased their capacity to accomplish their historical missions at this new stage in the new century.
Work related to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan affairs was intensified. Hong Kong and Macao maintained their prosperity and stability and developed closer economic partnership with the mainland. Political parties on both sides of the Taiwan Straits started communication, and cross-Straits visits as well as economic and cultural exchanges reached a new high. The Anti-Secession Law was enacted to resolutely safeguard China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Major progress was made in all-directional diplomacy. Pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace, China energetically carried out diplomatic activities, enhanced exchanges and cooperation with other countries in various fields and played a major constructive role in international affairs. This created a favorable international environment for building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
The great new undertaking to build the Party made solid progress. Endeavors to strengthen the Party's governance capability and vanguard nature were intensified. Efforts to make theoretical innovations and arm Party members with the achievements proved successful. The campaign to educate Party members to preserve their vanguard nature yielded substantial results. Intra-Party democracy continued to expand. Major headway was made in strengthening the Party's leading bodies and the ranks of its cadres, and especially in educating and training cadres. Work in relation to talented personnel was strengthened. Efforts were stepped up to reform the cadre and personnel system and make innovations in the organizational system. Remarkable results were achieved in improving the Party's style of work, upholding integrity and combating corruption.
While recognizing our achievements, we must be well aware that they still fall short of the expectations of the people and that there are still quite a few difficulties and problems on our way forward. The outstanding ones include the following: Our economic growth is realized at an excessively high cost of resources and the environment. There remains an imbalance in development between urban and rural areas, among regions, and between the economy and society. It has become more difficult to bring about a steady growth of agriculture and continued increase in farmers' incomes. There are still many problems affecting people's immediate interests in areas such as employment, social security, income distribution, education, public health, housing, work safety, administration of justice and public order; and some low-income people lead a rather difficult life. More efforts are needed to promote ideological and ethical progress. The governance capability of the Party falls somewhat short of the need to deal with the new situation and tasks. In-depth investigations and studies have yet to be conducted on some major practical issues related to reform, development and stability. Some primary Party organizations are weak and lax. A small number of Party cadres are not honest and upright, their formalism and bureaucratism are quite conspicuous, and extravagance, waste, corruption and other undesirable behavior are still serious problems with them. We must pay close attention to these problems and continue our efforts to solve them.
To sum up, the past five years was a period in which substantial progress was made in reform, opening up and building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. During this period, China's overall strength grew considerably and the people enjoyed more tangible benefits. China's international standing and influence rose notably. The creativity, cohesion and combat effectiveness of the Party increased significantly, and the whole Party and the people of all ethnic groups became more united. Facts have proved that the major policy decisions made by the Central Committee at and since the 16th Congress are perfectly correct.
Our achievements over the past five years are attributed to the concerted efforts of the whole Party and the people of all ethnic groups. On behalf of the Central Committee, I wish to express our heartfelt thanks to the people of all ethnic groups, the democratic parties, people's organizations and patriots from all walks of life, to our compatriots in the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao and in Taiwan as well as overseas Chinese nationals, and to our foreign friends who care about and support China's modernization drive!
II. The Great Historical Course of Reform and Opening up
We will soon be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the start of reform and opening up. In 1978, the Party held the historic Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee, which ushered in the new historical period of reform and opening up. Since then, the Chinese Communists and the Chinese people have, in an indomitable enterprising spirit and with their spectacular practice of innovation, composed a new epic recounting the Chinese nation's ceaseless efforts to make progress and become stronger, and historic changes have taken place in the visages of the Chinese people, socialist China and the CPC.
Reform and opening up represent a great new revolution carried on by the people under the Party's leadership in a new era to release and develop the productive forces, modernize the country, bring prosperity to the Chinese people and achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation; to promote the self-improvement and development of China's socialist system, inject new vitality into socialism, and build and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics; and to improve the building of the Party as it leads contemporary China in development and progress, preserve and enhance its vanguard nature, and ensure that it is always in the forefront of the times.
We must never forget that the great cause of reform and opening up was conducted on a foundation laid by the Party's first generation of central collective leadership with Comrade Mao Zedong at its core, which founded Mao Zedong Thought, led the whole Party and the people of all ethnic groups in establishing the People's Republic and scoring great achievements in our socialist revolution and construction, and gained invaluable experience in its painstaking exploration for laws governing socialist construction. The victory in the new-democratic revolution and the establishment of the basic system of socialism provided the fundamental political prerequisite and institutional basis for every inch of development and progress in contemporary China.
We must never forget that the great cause of reform and opening up was initiated by the Party's second generation of central collective leadership with Comrade Deng Xiaoping at its core leading the whole Party and the people of all ethnic groups in the endeavor. In a precarious situation left by the "cultural revolution" (1966-76), the second generation of central collective leadership, persisting in emancipating the mind and seeking truth from facts and displaying immense political and theoretical courage, made a scientific appraisal of Comrade Mao Zedong and Mao Zedong Thought, thoroughly repudiated the erroneous theory and practice of "taking class struggle as the key link," and made the historic policy decision to shift the focus of the work of the Party and the state onto economic development and introduce reform and opening up. It established the basic line for the primary stage of socialism, sounded the clarion call of the times for taking our own road and building socialism with Chinese characteristics, founded Deng Xiaoping Theory, and led the whole Party and the people of all ethnic groups in striding forward on the great journey of reform and opening up.
We must never forget that the great cause of reform and opening up was carried on, developed and successfully carried into the 21st century by the Party's third generation of central collective leadership with Comrade Jiang Zemin at its core leading the whole Party and the people of all ethnic groups on this mission. From the Fourth Plenary Session of the 13th Central Committee through the 16th Congress, the third generation of central collective leadership, which took over the helm at a critical historical juncture, held high the great banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory, pressed ahead with reform and opening up and kept up with the times. Relying on the Party and the people, it stood the severe tests of political turbulences and economic risks at home and abroad, safeguarded socialism with Chinese characteristics, initiated the new, socialist market economy and ushered in a new phase of all-round opening up; and it advanced the great new undertaking to build the Party, founded the important thought of Three Represents, and steered the ship of reform and opening up forward on the right course.
Since the 16th Congress, we have followed the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents, kept up with new developments and changes in and outside China, grasped the strategic opportunities in this important period, promoted the truth-seeking, pragmatic and pioneering spirit and persisted in innovation in both theory and practice. We have worked hard to promote scientific development and social harmony, improved the socialist market economy, and resolutely carried forward the great cause of reform and opening up in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
Reform and opening up constitute the most salient feature of the new period. From the countryside to the cities and from the economic to other areas, the process of sweeping reform has unfolded with irresistible momentum. From the coastal areas to areas along the Yangtze River and the borders, and from the eastern to the central and western regions, the door has been resolutely opened to the outside world. This great undertaking of reform and opening up, never seen before in history, has greatly stimulated the enthusiasm of hundreds of millions of Chinese people and brought about China's historic transformation from a highly centralized planned economy to a robust socialist market economy, and from a closed or semi-closed state to all-round opening up. Today socialist China is standing rock-firm in the East, oriented toward modernization, the world and the future.
Rapid development represents the most remarkable achievement in the new period. The Party has been implementing the three-step strategy for modernization, leading the people in working hard to promote China's sustained rapid development at a rate rarely seen in the world. China's economy, once on the verge of collapse, has grown to rank as the fourth largest in the world, and its import and export volume, the third biggest. The Chinese people, once inadequately fed and clad, are leading a fairly comfortable life on the whole. The impoverished population in rural areas has dropped from more than 250 million to just over 20 million. The country's achievements in political, cultural and social development have captured world attention. China's development has not only enabled its people to move steadily toward prosperity and happiness, but also contributed substantially to the growth of the world economy and the progress of human civilization.