Secure a Decisive Victory in Building a Moderately Prosperous Society in All Respects and Strive for the Great Success of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era
Delivered at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
October 18, 2017
On behalf of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, I will now deliver a report to the 19th National Congress.
The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is a meeting of great importance taking place during the decisive stage in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and at a critical moment as socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era.
The theme of the Congress is: Remain true to our original aspiration and keep our mission firmly in mind, hold high the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, strive for the great success of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era, and work tirelessly to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.
Never forget why you started, and you can accomplish your mission. The original aspiration and the mission of Chinese Communists is to seek happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation. This original aspiration, this mission, is what inspires Chinese Communists to advance. In our Party, each and every one of us must always breathe the same breath as the people, share the same future, and stay truly connected to them. The aspirations of the people to live a better life must always be the focus of our efforts. We must keep on striving with endless energy toward the great goal of national rejuvenation.
Both China and the world are in the midst of profound and complex changes. China is still in an important period of strategic opportunity for development; the prospects are bright but the challenges are severe. All comrades must aim high and look far, be alert to dangers even in times of calm, have the courage to pursue reform and break new ground, and never become hardened to change or inactive. We will unite the Chinese people of all ethnic groups and lead them to a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and in the drive to secure the success of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era.
I. The Past Five Years: Our Work and Historic Change
The five years since the 18th National Congress have been a truly remarkable five years in the course of the development of the Party and the country. Outside China, we have been confronted with sluggish global economic recovery, frequent outbreaks of regional conflicts and disturbances, and intensifying global issues. At home, we have encountered profound changes as China has entered a new normal in economic development. We have upheld the underlying principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability, risen to challenges, pioneered and pushed ahead, and made historic achievements in reform, opening up, and socialist modernization.
To put the guiding principles from our 18th National Congress into action, the Party Central Committee has held seven plenary sessions. There, decisions and plans were made on issues of major importance, from reforming the institutions and transforming the functions of government to deepening reform in all areas, advancing law-based governance, formulating the 13th Five-Year Plan, and seeing governance over the Party is exercised fully and with rigor. In the past five years, we have implemented the five-sphere integrated plan1 and the four-pronged comprehensive strategy,2 fulfilled the goals of the 12th Five-Year Plan, and made smooth progress in implementing the 13th Five-Year Plan. On all fronts new advances have been made for the cause of the Party and the country.
We have made major achievements in economic development. We have remained committed to the new development philosophy, adopted the right approach to development, and endeavored to transform the growth model. The result has been a constant improvement in the quality and effect of development. The economy has maintained a medium-high growth rate, making China a leader among the major economies. With the gross domestic product rising from 54 trillion to 80 trillion yuan, China has maintained its position as the world’s second largest economy and contributed more than 30 percent of global economic growth. Supply-side structural reform has made further headway, bringing a steady improvement in the economic structure. Emerging industries like the digital economy are thriving; the construction of high-speed railways, highways, bridges, ports, airports, and other types of infrastructure has picked up pace. Agricultural modernization has steadily advanced, with annual grain production reaching 600 million metric tons. The level of urbanization has risen by an annual average of 1.2 percentage points, and more than 80 million people who have moved from rural to urban areas have gained permanent urban residency. Regional development has become more balanced; the Belt and Road Initiative, the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, and the development of the Yangtze Economic Belt have all made notable progress. Through devoting great energy to implementing the innovation-driven development strategy, we have seen much accomplished toward making China a country of innovators, with major advances made in science and technology, including the successful launch of Tiangong-2 space lab, the commissioning of the deep-sea manned submersible Jiaolong and of the five-hundred-meter aperture spherical telescope (FAST) Tianyan, the launch of the dark matter probe satellite Wukong and the quantum science satellite Mozi, and the test flight of the airliner C919. Construction on islands and reefs in the South China Sea has seen steady progress. The new institutions of the open economy have been steadily improved. China now leads the world in trade, outbound investment, and foreign exchange reserves.
We have made major breakthroughs in deepening reform. We have taken comprehensive steps to deepen reform swiftly but steadily, and worked with resolve to remove institutional barriers in all areas. We have taken moves across the board, achieved breakthroughs in many areas, and made further progress in reform. We have pursued reform in a more systematic, holistic, and coordinated way, increasing its coverage and depth. Thanks to the launch of over 1,500 reform measures, breakthroughs have been made in key areas, and general frameworks for reform have been established in major fields. The system of socialism with Chinese characteristics has been further improved, with notable progress made in modernizing China’s system and capacity for governance. Throughout society, development is full of vitality and is driven by greater creativity.
We have taken major steps in developing democracy and the rule of law. We have actively developed socialist democracy and advanced law-based governance. We have stepped up institution building across the board to make integrated advances in Party leadership, the running of the country by the people, and law-based governance; and we have continuously improved the institutions and mechanisms by which the Party exercises leadership. Steady progress has been made in enhancing socialist democracy; intraparty democracy has been expanded, and socialist consultative democracy is flourishing. The patriotic united front has been consolidated and developed, and new approaches have been adopted for work related to ethnic and religious affairs. Further progress has been made in ensuring our legislation is sound, law enforcement is strict, the administration of justice is impartial, and the law is observed by everyone. Our efforts to build a country, government, and society based on the rule of law have been mutually reinforcing; the system of distinctively Chinese socialist rule of law has been steadily improved; and public awareness of the rule of law has risen markedly. Good progress has been made in piloting the reform of the national supervision system, and effective measures have been taken to reform the system of government administration and the judicial system, and to develop systems to apply checks and oversight over the exercise of power.
We have made significant advances on the theoretical and cultural fronts. We have strengthened Party leadership over ideological work and explored new ground in advancing Party related theories. The importance of Marxism as a guiding ideology is better appreciated. Socialism with Chinese characteristics and the Chinese Dream have been embraced by our people. Core socialist values and fine traditional Chinese culture are alive in the people’s hearts. Initiatives to improve public etiquette and ethical standards have proved successful. Public cultural services have been improved; art and literature are thriving, and cultural programs and industries are going strong. The development, administration, and functioning of internet services have been enhanced. Fitness-for-All programs and competitive sports have seen extensive development. Our country’s underlying values hold greater appeal than ever before, and the wave of positive energy felt throughout society is building. We, the Chinese people, have greater confidence in our own culture. China’s cultural soft power and the international influence of Chinese culture have increased significantly. There is greater unity in thinking both within the Party and throughout society.
We have steadily improved living standards. Our vision of making development people-centered has been acted on, a whole raft of initiatives to benefit the people has seen implementation, and the people’s sense of fulfillment has grown stronger. Decisive progress has been made in the fight against poverty: more than 60 million people have been lifted out of poverty, and the poverty headcount ratio has dropped from 10.2 percent to less than 4 percent. All-round progress has been made in the development of education, with remarkable advances made in the central and western regions and in rural areas. Employment has registered steady growth, with an average of over 13 million urban jobs created each year. Growth of urban and rural personal incomes has outpaced economic growth, and the middle-income group has been expanding. A social security system covering both urban and rural residents has taken shape; both public health and medical services have improved markedly. Solid progress has been made in building government-subsidized housing projects to ensure basic needs are met. Social governance systems have been improved; law and order has been maintained; and national security has been fully enhanced.
We have made notable progress in building an ecological civilization. We have devoted serious energy to ecological conservation. As a result, the entire Party and the whole country have become more purposeful and active in pursuing green development, and there has been a clear shift away from the tendency to neglect ecological and environmental protection. Efforts to develop a system for building an ecological civilization have been accelerated; the system of functional zoning has been steadily improved; and progress has been made in piloting the national park system. Across-the-board efforts to conserve resources have seen encouraging progress; the intensity of energy and resource consumption has been significantly reduced. Smooth progress has been made in major ecological conservation and restoration projects; and forest coverage has been increased. Ecological and environmental governance has been significantly strengthened, leading to marked improvements in the environment. Taking a driving seat in international cooperation to respond to climate change, China has become an important participant, contributor, and torchbearer in the global endeavor for ecological civilization.
We have initiated a new stage in strengthening and revitalizing the armed forces. With a view to realizing the Chinese Dream and the dream of building a powerful military, we have developed a strategy for the military under new circumstances, and have made every effort to modernize national defense and the armed forces. We convened the Gutian military political work meeting to revive and pass on the proud traditions and fine conduct of our Party and our armed forces, and have seen a strong improvement in the political ecosystem of the people’s forces. Historic breakthroughs have been made in reforming national defense and the armed forces: a new military structure has been established with the Central Military Commission exercising overall leadership, the theater commands responsible for military operations, and the services focusing on developing capabilities. This represents a revolutionary restructuring of the organization and the services of the people’s armed forces. We have strengthened military training and war preparedness, and undertaken major missions related to the protection of maritime rights, countering terrorism, maintaining stability, disaster rescue and relief, international peacekeeping, escort services in the Gulf of Aden, and humanitarian assistance. We have stepped up weapons and equipment development, and made major progress in enhancing military preparedness. The people’s armed forces have taken solid strides on the path of building a powerful military with Chinese characteristics.
We have made fresh progress in work related to Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. We have fully and faithfully implemented the principle of “one country, two systems,” and ensured that the central government exercises its overall jurisdiction over Hong Kong and Macao as mandated by China’s Constitution and the basic laws of the two special administrative regions. We have thus boosted exchanges and cooperation between the mainland and the two regions and maintained prosperity and stability in Hong Kong and Macao. We have upheld the one-China principle and the 1992 Consensus, promoted the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations, strengthened cross-Straits economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation, and held a historic meeting between the leaders of the two sides. We have responded as appropriate to the political developments in Taiwan, resolutely opposed and deterred separatist elements advocating “Taiwan independence,” and vigorously safeguarded peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits.
We have made further progress in China’s diplomacy on all fronts. We have made all-round efforts in the pursuit of major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, thus advancing China’s diplomatic agenda in a comprehensive, multilevel, multifaceted way and creating a favorable external environment for China’s development. We have jointly pursued the Belt and Road Initiative, initiated the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, set up the Silk Road Fund, and hosted the First Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, the G20 2016 Summit in Hangzhou, the BRICS Summit in Xiamen, and the Fourth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia. China champions the development of a community with a shared future for mankind, and has encouraged the evolution of the global governance system. With this we have seen a further rise in China’s international influence, ability to inspire, and power to shape; and China has made great new contributions to global peace and development.
We have achieved remarkable outcomes in ensuring full and strict governance over the Party. We have made sweeping efforts to strengthen Party leadership and Party building, and taken strong action to transform lax and weak governance over the Party. We encourage all Party members to hold the Party Constitution in great esteem. We urge them to strengthen their consciousness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the leadership core, and keep in alignment, and to uphold the authority of the Central Committee and its centralized, unified leadership. We have tightened political discipline and rules to ensure that political responsibility for governance over the Party is fulfilled at each level of the Party organization. We have committed to “examining ourselves in the mirror, tidying our attire, taking a bath, and treating our ailments,” launched activities to see members command and act on the Party’s mass line, and initiated a campaign for the observance of the Three Stricts and Three Earnests. We have regularized and institutionalized the requirement for all Party members to have a solid understanding of the Party Constitution, Party regulations, and related major policy addresses and to meet Party standards. As a result, the ideals and convictions of all Party members have been strengthened and their sense of Party consciousness has deepened. We have adopted standards fitting for a new era to assess the caliber of officials, and achieved a notable improvement in the way officials are selected and appointed. Further advances have been made in the reform of the institutional framework for Party building, and continuous improvements have been made to the system of Party regulations. We have given top priority to ensuring compliance with Party discipline, and tackled the prominent problems that prompt the strongest public reaction and that threaten to erode the very foundation of the Party’s governance. We adopted the eight-point decision on improving Party and government conduct, have taken tough action against the practice of formalities for formalities’ sake, bureaucratism, hedonism, and extravagance, and have staunchly opposed privilege seeking. Disciplinary inspections have cut like a blade through corruption and misconduct; they have covered every Party committee in all departments at the central and provincial levels. No place has been out of bounds, no ground left unturned, and no tolerance shown in the fight against corruption. We have taken firm action to “take out tigers,” “swat flies,” and “hunt down foxes.” The goal of creating a deterrent against corruption has been initially attained; the cage of institutions that prevents corruption has been strengthened; and moral defenses against corruption are in the making. The anti-corruption campaign has built into a crushing tide, and is being consolidated and developed.
The achievements of the past five years have touched every area and broken new ground; the changes in China over the past five years have been profound and fundamental. For five years, our Party has demonstrated tremendous political courage and a powerful sense of mission as it has developed new ideas, new thinking, and new strategies, adopted a raft of major principles and policies, launched a host of major initiatives, and pushed ahead with many major tasks. We have solved many tough problems that were long on the agenda but never resolved, and accomplished many things that were wanted but never got done. With this, we have prompted historic shifts in the cause of the Party and the country. These historic changes will have a powerful and far-reaching effect on the development of this cause.
Over the past five years, we have acted with courage to confront major risks and tests facing the Party and to address prominent problems within the Party itself. With firm resolve, we have tightened discipline and improved Party conduct, fought corruption and punished wrongdoing, and removed serious potential dangers in the Party and the country. As a result, both the intraparty political atmosphere and the political ecosystem of the Party have improved markedly. The Party’s ability to innovate, power to unite, and energy to fight have all been significantly strengthened; Party solidarity and unity have been reinforced, and our engagement with the people has been greatly improved. Revolutionary tempering has made our Party stronger and it now radiates with great vitality. With this, efforts to develop the cause of the Party and the country have gained a strong political underpinning.
But we must be very clear: There are still many inadequacies in our work and many difficulties and challenges to face. The main ones are as follows. Some acute problems caused by unbalanced and inadequate development await solutions; and the quality and effect of development are not what they should be. China’s ability to innovate needs to be stronger, the real economy awaits improvement, and we have a long way to go in protecting the environment. In work on public wellbeing there are still many areas where we fall short; and poverty alleviation remains a formidable task. There are still large disparities in development between rural and urban areas, between regions, and in income distribution; and our people face many difficulties in employment, education, healthcare, housing, and elderly care. The level of civic-mindedness needs further improvement. Social tensions and problems are intertwined, much remains to be done in seeing the country’s governance is based in law, and China’s system and capacity for governance need to be further strengthened. Ideological struggle is still complicated, and in national security we face new developments. Some reform plans and major policies and measures need to be better implemented. Many dimensions of Party building remain weak. These are all problems that demand our full attention to resolve.
The achievements of the past five years are the result of the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee, and, more importantly, the result of all Party members and all the Chinese people pulling together in their pursuit. On behalf of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, I express our heartfelt thanks to the people of all ethnic groups, to all other political parties, to people’s organizations, and patriotic figures from all sectors of society, to our fellow countrymen and women in the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and in Taiwan, to overseas Chinese, and to all our friends from around the world who have shown understanding and support for China’s modernization.
In the early days of reform and opening up, the Party made a clarion call for us to take a path of our own and build socialism with Chinese characteristics. Since that time, the Party has united and led all the Chinese people in a tireless struggle, propelling China into a leading position in terms of economic and technological strength, defense capabilities, and composite national strength. China’s international standing has risen as never before. Our Party, our country, our people, our forces, and our nation have changed in ways without precedent. The Chinese nation, with an entirely new posture, now stands tall and firm in the East.
With decades of hard work, socialism with Chinese characteristics has crossed the threshold into a new era. This is a new historic juncture in China’s development.
This is what socialism with Chinese characteristics entering a new era means: The Chinese nation, which since modern times began had endured so much for so long, has achieved a tremendous transformation: it has stood up, grown rich, and is becoming strong; it has come to embrace the brilliant prospects of rejuvenation. It means that scientific socialism is full of vitality in 21st century China, and that the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics is now flying high and proud for all to see. It means that the path, the theory, the system, and the culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics have kept developing, blazing a new trail for other developing countries to achieve modernization. It offers a new option for other countries and nations who want to speed up their development while preserving their independence; and it offers Chinese wisdom and a Chinese approach to solving the problems facing mankind.
This new era will be an era of building on past successes to further advance our cause, and of continuing in a new historical context to strive for the success of socialism with Chinese characteristics. It will be an era of securing a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and of moving on to all-out efforts to build a great modern socialist country. It will be an era for the Chinese people of all ethnic groups to work together and work hard to create a better life for themselves and ultimately achieve common prosperity for everyone. It will be an era for all of us, the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation, to strive with one heart to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation. It will be an era that sees China moving closer to center stage and making greater contributions to mankind.
As socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, the principal contradiction facing Chinese society has evolved. What we now face is the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life. China has seen the basic needs of over a billion people met, has basically made it possible for people to live decent lives, and will soon bring the building of a moderately prosperous society to a successful completion. The needs to be met for the people to live better lives are increasingly broad. Not only have their material and cultural needs grown; their demands for democracy, rule of law, fairness and justice, security, and a better environment are increasing. At the same time, China’s overall productive forces have significantly improved and in many areas our production capacity leads the world. The more prominent problem is that our development is unbalanced and inadequate. This has become the main constraining factor in meeting the people’s increasing needs for a better life.
We must recognize that the evolution of the principal contradiction facing Chinese society represents a historic shift that affects the whole landscape and that creates many new demands for the work of the Party and the country. Building on continued efforts to sustain development, we must devote great energy to addressing development’s imbalances and inadequacies, and push hard to improve the quality and effect of development. With this, we will be better placed to meet the ever-growing economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological needs of our people, and to promote well-rounded human development and all-round social progress.
We must recognize that the evolution of the principal contradiction facing Chinese society does not change our assessment of the present stage of socialism in China. The basic dimension of the Chinese context—that our country is still and will long remain in the primary stage of socialism—has not changed. China’s international status as the world’s largest developing country has not changed. The whole Party must be completely clear about this fundamental dimension of our national context, and must base our work on this most important reality—the primary stage of socialism. We must remain fully committed to the Party’s basic line as the source that keeps the Party and the country going and that brings happiness to the people. We must lead and unite the Chinese people of all ethnic groups in fulfilling the central task of economic development. We must uphold the Four Cardinal Principles,1 continue to reform and open up, be self-reliant, hardworking, and enterprising, and strive to build China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful.
Chinese socialism’s entrance into a new era is, in the history of the development of the People’s Republic of China and the history of the development of the Chinese nation, of tremendous importance. In the history of the development of international socialism and the history of the development of human society, it is of tremendous importance. Our entire Party should develop unshakeable confidence, work hard and work well to see socialism with Chinese characteristics display even stronger vitality.