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UPDATED: March 29, 2011
Full Text of Jiang Zemin's Report at 14th Party Congress

The main contents of the theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics are as follows:

The road to socialism. We must take our own road, not regard books as dogma and not copy the models of other countries. We must take Marxism as a guide to action, make practice the only test for truth, emancipate our minds, seek truth from facts, value the initiative of the masses and build a socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The development of socialism in stages. According to our scientific thesis, China is still in the primary stage of socialism, which will last for at least a hundred years. All principles and policies must be based on this fundamental reality. We must not divorce ourselves from it or try to skip this stage.

The fundamental task of socialism. In essence, the objective of socialism is to liberate and develop the productive forces, to eliminate exploitation and polarization, and ultimately to achieve common prosperity. The principal contradiction in Chinese society in the present stage is the one between the growing material and cultural needs of the people and the backwardness of production. Accordingly, to promote the all-round progress of society, we must give priority to the growth of the productive forces and make economic development our central task. In the final analysis, the criterion for judging the success or failure of our work in various fields is whether it helps develop the productive forces of socialist society, strengthen the overall capacity of the country and improve the people's living standards. Science and technology constitute a primary productive force, and in pursuing economic development we must rely on scientific and technological progress and try to create a more highly skilled workforce.

The motive force of socialist development. Reform is also a revolution, a revolution whose goal is to liberate the productive forces. It is the only way to modernize China. If we cling to outmoded ideas and remain content with the status quo, we shall accomplish nothing. The objective of economic restructuring is to develop a socialist market economy, keeping the public sector as the dominant one and remuneration according to one's work as the principal mode of distribution, supplemented by other sectors and other modes. The objective of political restructuring is mainly to improve the system of people's congresses and the practice of multiparty cooperation and consultation under the leadership of the Communist Party and to develop socialist democracy. In correspondence with the economic and political restructuring, we must build an advanced socialist culture and ideology and develop a citizenry who have high ideals, moral integrity, a better education and a strong sense of discipline.

External conditions for socialist construction. The questions of peace and development are the two top priorities on the international agenda. We must adhere to an independent foreign policy of peace and try to create a favourable international environment for our modernization drive. It is essential for us to open to the outside world. This is indispensable to the reform and to economic development. We should also develop socialism by absorbing and utilizing the advances made by all other countries, including the developed capitalist countries. A closed-door policy can only perpetuate backwardness.

The political guarantee for socialist construction. We must keep to the socialist road and uphold the people's democratic dictatorship, leadership by the Chinese Communist Party and Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought. These Four Cardinal Principles are the foundation of the country. It is these principles that will guarantee the sound development of the reform, the process of opening up and the drive for modernization, which will in turn enrich the principles with contemporary content.

The strategic plan for socialist construction. Modernization should be realized in three stages. In this long process we should seize all opportunities to bring about every few years a period of particularly rapid development and good economic results. Poverty is not socialism, but it is impossible for everyone to become prosperous simultaneously. We must allow and encourage some areas and individuals to grow rich first, so that more and more areas and individuals will do so until common prosperity is eventually achieved.

Forces that lead in building socialism and forces that are relied on. The Chinese Communist Party, as the vanguard of the working class, is the force at the core leading the socialist cause forward. It must meet the requirements of the reform, the opening up and the modernization drive by constantly improving itself and strengthening its leadership in different areas of work. The style of work of a party in power and its links with the people are vital to its very existence. We must rely on the workers, peasants and intellectuals, on the unity of the people of various nationalities, and on the broadest possible united front of socialist workers, patriots who support socialism and patriots who desire the reunification of the motherland. The people's armed forces, led by the Party, are the defenders of the socialist motherland and an important force for building socialism.

Reunification of the motherland. We have put forward the creative concept of "one country, two systems" - the proposition that, on the premise that there is only one China, for a long time to come the main part of the country should adhere to the socialist system while Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan maintain their original capitalist system. In accordance with this principle, we shall work for the peaceful reunification of the motherland.

The theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics contains many other ideas. As we test it in the course of practice, study new situations and solve new problems, we shall continue to enrich, refine and develop it.

Under the guidance of this theory, our Party has formulated the basic line for the primary stage of socialism: to lead the people of all our nationalities in a united, self-reliant, intensive and pioneering effort to turn China into a prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and modern socialist country by making economic development our central task while adhering to the Four Cardinal Principles and persevering in reform and the open policy. "One central task, two basic points" is a succinct summarization of this line. To carry it out, our Party has also formulated a set of principles and policies regarding economics, politics, science and technology, education, culture and military and foreign affairs. This line and these principles and policies are likewise to be continually enriched, refined and developed in the course of practice.

The theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics has taken shape gradually in the current situation in which peace and development are the priorities of the times, and as we have been carrying out reform and the open policy and bringing about socialist modernization. It has been based on a review of the experience gained from our successes and failures in building socialism in China and from those in other countries. It is the product of the integration of the fundamental tenets of Marxism-Leninism with the reality of present-day China and the special features of our times, a continuation and development of Mao Zedong Thought, a crystallization of the collective wisdom of the entire Party membership and the whole Chinese people, and an intellectual treasure belonging to them all.

Comrade Deng Xiaoping is the chief architect of our socialist reform, of the open policy and of the modernization programme. He respects practice and the masses and pays constant attention to the interests and aspirations of the majority of the people. He is adept at generalizing from their experiences and innovations, and he can sense the direction in which things are moving and seize upon favourable opportunities whenever they present themselves. He has carried forward the fine work of our predecessors, and at the same time he has broken with outmoded conventions, displaying his great political courage by blazing a new path to socialism and his great theoretical courage by opening new perspectives for Marxism. He has made historic contributions by formulating the theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The experiences drawn from practice over the past 14 years can be summed up in one sentence: We must firmly adhere to the Party's basic line, guided by the theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics. This is the best way to ensure that we shall stand the test of the dangers we may face on the way to our goal.

To adhere to the Party's basic line, we must, first and foremost, persevere in economic development as our central task. Because of both domestic and international factors, even after the establishment of the basic socialist system, class struggle will continue to exist in some areas for a long time and may be intensified under certain circumstances. We must have a clear understanding of this question and handle correctly any problems that may arise. However, class struggle is no longer the principal contradiction in our society, and economic development has become our central task. We must never waver in it, except in case of a large-scale foreign invasion. In years past we sometimes turned aside from economic development, because we did not have a clear understanding of certain international and domestic events. That was a serious mistake. Over the past 14 years, however, we have never been distracted from this central task, despite the major events of one kind or another that have taken place in China and abroad. We should continue to concentrate on it unremittingly in the years to come.

To adhere to the Party's basic line, we must integrate reform and the open policy with the Four Cardinal Principles. It is because we introduced reform and the open policy that socialism with Chinese characteristics is so vigorous today. And it is because reform and the open policy help consolidate and expand socialism that they have been progressing smoothly. The purpose of adhering to the Four Cardinal Principles and persevering in reform and the open policy is to liberate and develop the productive forces to an even greater extent. As we proceed, Party members, leading cadres in particular, must be on the alert for Right tendencies, but also and mainly for "Left" tendencies. Right tendencies are manifested chiefly in negating the Four Cardinal Principles, in pursuing bourgeois liberalization and sometimes in creating political turmoil. "Left" tendencies are manifested chiefly in denying the correctness of the reform and the open policy, maintaining that the main danger of peaceful evolution toward capitalism comes from the economic sphere, and trying to distract us from the central task of economic development by emphasizing the need for class struggle. Right tendencies can be the ruin of socialism, and so can "Left" tendencies.

"Left" ideas have deep roots in the history of our Party. Their exponents sound very revolutionary; they try to intimidate people by pinning political labels on them, as if being more "Left" meant being more revolutionary. Most of the mistakes that were made in the course of building socialism during the 20 years beginning in 1957 were "Left" in nature. It is likewise "Left" tendencies that present the chief obstacle to our efforts to explore a new path for reform and the open policy and to break out of the structures and conventions that hamper the development of the productive forces. Now we are making it clear that we must guard against Right tendencies but also and mainly against "Left" tendencies, in order that all our Party comrades, leading cadres in particular, will learn a profound lesson from the past and apply it to the present realities and to their own thoughts and work. This will help them enhance their political consciousness and their determination to carry out the Party's basic line, to emancipate their minds and to work together for still greater successes in economic development and other undertakings. When there are problems of understanding, differing opinions and mistakes in practical work, we should analyse each of them realistically, and not arbitrarily describe them as "Left" or Right political tendencies.

To adhere to the Party's basic line, we must consolidate and expand political unity and stability. Without political and social stability, any attempt to carry out reform and the open policy and to promote economic development would be out of the question. We must adhere to the Four Cardinal Principles and resolutely eliminate all factors that might lead to unrest or turmoil in China. Conversely, if we do not take economic development as our central task and carry out reform and the open policy, and if we therefore fail to achieve economic growth, any effort to consolidate unity and stability would be out of the question. Only so long as the basic line remains unchanged and there is social and political stability shall we be able to forge ahead steadily.

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