Speech at the Meeting Marking the 65th Anniversary of the Founding of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference
September 21, 2014
Dear friends and colleagues,
We are gathered here today to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Over the past 65 years, the CPPCC, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), has traversed a glorious course and achieved historic accomplishments in its efforts toward founding and developing the People’s Republic of China, exploring the path of reform, and realizing the Chinese Dream.
First of all, on behalf of the CPC Central Committee, I would like to extend our warmest congratulations on the 65th anniversary of the founding of the CPPCC. I wish to express our great respect for the democratic parties, the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, and persons without party affiliation, as well as for the people’s organizations and people of all our ethnic groups and from all sectors of society who have been devoted to the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics and made outstanding contributions to the cause of the CPPCC. I also wish to express our sincere regards to our fellow countrymen and women in the Hong Kong and Macau administrative regions and in Taiwan, as well as to overseas Chinese.
As I address you here today, we recall all the more deeply the memories of Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping, Deng Yingchao, Li Xiannian, and other CPPCC leaders of the older generations. We will always keep in mind all those who have contributed to the CPPCC’s cause and continue to carry it forward in the new era.
Dear friends and colleagues,
The first plenary session of the CPPCC was held from September 21 through 30, 1949. Representing the will of the people of all ethnic groups in China and performing the functions of the National People’s Congress, that session adopted the Common Program of the CPPCC – a provisional kind of Constitution, the Organizing Law of the CPPCC, and the Organizing Law of the Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China. It adopted major resolutions on the capital, the national flag, the national anthem, and the calendar system of the People’s Republic of China. In addition, the session elected the National Committee of the CPPCC and the Central People’s Government Council of the People’s Republic of China, and proclaimed the founding the People’s Republic of China.
This session marked the historic victory of the Chinese people’s independence and liberation movement that had been underway for over 100 years, the complete formation of the organization of the patriotic united front and the widespread unity of people across the country, and the formal establishment of the system of multiparty cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC. The CPPCC contributed significantly to the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
After the People’s Republic was founded, the CPPCC made historic contributions to recovering and developing the economy, consolidating the newly founded people’s government, giving impetus to social reforms, and advancing the socialist revolution and development. After the First National People’s Congress was held in 1954, the CPPCC – the organ of multiparty cooperation and political consultation as well as the united front organization – continued to contribute to all aspects of development in China by playing a significant part in completing the socialist transformation, encouraging all sectors of society to strive to fulfill the general tasks of the country, injecting new dynamism into political life in China, adjusting relations inside the united front, and increasing our country’s exchanges with other countries.
Following the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee, Deng Xiaoping said, “The tasks of the united front and of the CPPCC in the new period are to mobilize all positive forces, strive to transform all negative forces into positive ones, and unite with all the forces that can be united with so that all can work in harmony to maintain and strengthen political stability and unity in China and make it a modern, powerful socialist country.”
The CPC’s second generation of central collective leadership with Deng Xiaoping at its core clearly defined the nature and tasks of the CPPCC in the new period; established the principles of long-term coexistence, mutual oversight, sincere relations, and the sharing of both the good times and the bad between the CPC and the democratic parties; and promoted the inclusion of the nature and roles of the CPPCC into the Constitution.
The CPC’s third generation of central collective leadership with Jiang Zemin at its core established the system of multiparty cooperation and political consultation led by the CPC as a basic political system of China, made it clear in the revised Constitution that this system will continue to be implemented and developed for a long time to come, and further defined the nature, themes, and functions of the CPPCC.
The CPC Central Committee with Hu Jintao as general secretary issued the Guidelines on Strengthening the Work of the CPPCC, providing the theoretical foundation, policy basis, and institutional safeguards for the development of the CPPCC in this new stage of the new century.
Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, its Central Committee has attached great importance to the work of the CPPCC, emphasizing the need to accurately understand its nature and position, give full play to its role as a main channel for deliberative democracy, and build institutions regarding political consultation, democratic oversight, and participation in the deliberation and administration of state affairs, with the focus on the themes of unity and democracy. The CPPCC has developed while carrying forward its fine traditions, and has kept making innovations throughout its development. It has concentrated on the central task of economic development, served the overall interests of the country, and made new positive contributions by developing consensus, drawing together people’s energies, and making proposals on deepening reform comprehensively.
Looking back over the CPPCC’s 65 years of development makes us more deeply aware that the CPPCC is rooted in Chinese history and culture, originates from the great struggle of the Chinese people’s revolution since the beginning of modern times, and has developed through the brilliant praxis of socialism with Chinese characteristics. It is quintessentially Chinese, and constitutes an important force for making China prosperous and strong, rejuvenating the Chinese nation, and bringing happiness to the people. We have every reason to believe that, just as the CPPCC has created a glorious history, it is certain to create an even more glorious future.
Dear friends and colleagues,
The CPPCC has gathered valuable experience during its 65 years of rich praxis and established important principles for carrying out its work.
It is essential that in performing its work, the CPPCC adheres to the leadership of the CPC. The leadership by the CPC is the common choice of the Chinese people, including the democratic parties, people’s organizations, ethnic groups, social strata, and people from all sectors of society. It is the most essential feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and it provides the fundamental guarantee for the development and progress of the CPPCC. To keep developing in the right direction, the CPPCC must unwaveringly uphold the leadership of the CPC.
It is imperative that the CPPCC sticks with its nature and position in order to do its work well. The CPPCC is a united front organization, an organ of multiparty cooperation and political consultation, and an important form of people’s democracy. It reflects the distinct features of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The CPPCC should constantly make advances in all its work and programs on the basis of accurately identifying its position in accordance with the Constitution and laws of China as well as its own Charter.
It is important that the CPPCC upholds great unity and cooperation in carrying out its work. Unity and cooperation are essential to the united front and are the major characteristics of the CPPCC. On the political basis of loving the People’s Republic of China, supporting the leadership of the CPC, upholding socialism, and making joint efforts to rejuvenate the Chinese nation, the CPPCC should mobilize all positive factors to the greatest possible extent, unite with everyone that can be united with, and channel their energies into a powerful force to serve the great cause.
It is essential that the CPPCC continues to promote socialist democracy in its work. The people’s democracy is the very life of socialism, and the CPPCC is an important form of people’s democracy. The CPPCC should, in light of the needs for modernizing the country’s governance system and capacity for governance, adhere to the spirit of reform and innovation; make innovations in its own theory, institutions, and work; enrich the forms of democracy; keep channels of democracy open; organize for political parties, people’s organizations, ethnic groups, social strata, and persons from all sectors of society to deliberate on state affairs; and strive to bring about broad, effective people’s democracy.
Dear friends and colleagues,
The greater our objectives, the brighter our visions, the more formidable our mission, and the heavier our responsibility, the more necessary it is to pool together the wisdom and strength of the entire nation, achieve broad consensus, and constantly strengthen unity. I hope the CPPCC will carry on its fine traditions, further modernize its ability to perform its duties, and make new and greater contributions towards the achievement of the Two Centenary Goals and the realization of the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
First, the CPPCC needs to maintain the strengths and features of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
As the saying goes, “One pair of shoes need not be the same as another; it need only fit the wearer’s feet. Governance need not be of only one kind; it need only benefit the people.” The reason socialism with Chinese characteristics is full of dynamism is that it has grown in the soil of Chinese society. The CPPCC is an institutional arrangement that suits China’s conditions and has clear Chinese characteristics.
The CPPCC needs to always uphold the adherence to and development of socialism with Chinese characteristics as the principal axis around which our common intellectual and political foundation is strengthened. It needs to uphold the unity of the leadership of the CPC, the position of the people as masters of the country, and the law-based governance of the country; willingly incorporate the decisions and arrangements of the CPC into its work; accurately understand its nature, position, functions, and role; and remain firmly committed to the socialist path of political development with Chinese characteristics.
Second, the CPPCC needs to make suggestions on and contribute to reform and development.
China is still in the primary stage of socialism and remains the world’s largest developing country, so development continues to be the key to solving all the problems that China faces. The central task we face is to make the best use of this important period of strategic opportunities, comprehensively deepen reform, constantly work to liberate and develop the productive forces, develop all undertakings in an all-round way, and make a better job of improving and safeguarding the quality of life of our people.
The CPPCC is highly representative, broadly based, and greatly inclusive. It should capitalize on these strengths in its efforts to carry out thorough studies and investigations on major issues concerning promoting development in a scientific way and comprehensively deepening reform as well as on issues of the greatest concern to the general public. It should also make suggestions and recommendations regarding reform and development. It needs to actively explain China’s major policies and principles on reform and development to the public, and guide all those people it connects with to support and take part in reform and development, to respond properly to the changes in their interests brought about by the current reform and development initiatives, and come together to promote reform and development. The CPPCC needs to boldly speak the truth and offer advice, report the genuine nature of situations as they emerge, bravely make both comments and criticisms, help government offices identify their deficiencies and solve their problems, and ensure the implementation of all reform and development measures.
Third, the CPPCC needs to play an important role in developing deliberative democracy.
The CPPCC functions on the basis of China’s Constitution, the CPPCC Charter, and relevant state policies. It is guaranteed by the system of multiparty cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC, assumes the functions of deliberation, oversight, participation, and cooperation, and is an important channel for socialist deliberative democracy.
The CPPCC needs to play the role of an organization specializing in deliberation and put deliberative democracy into practice throughout the whole process of its performance of duties. It needs to improve the system of political consultation, democratic oversight, and participation in the deliberation and administration of state affairs; work constantly to make its deliberative democracy more institutionalized, standardized, and procedure-based; more effectively coordinate relations, pool strengths, make suggestions and proposals to the central leadership, and serve the overall interests of the country.
It also needs to conduct deliberations on more state affairs and diversify the forms of its deliberations; develop sound mechanisms for formulating topics for deliberation, organizing deliberations, adopting and implementing the results of deliberations, and giving feedback to those who made suggestions; carry out more regular and more flexible deliberations on specific issues, with Party and government offices, among members of CPPCC committees from the same sector of society, and on the handling of proposals; explore new ways of conducting deliberations such as online deliberations and remote deliberations; and make its deliberations more effective; and ensure that all participants in deliberations are both able to say what they want to say and act on just grounds, with restraint, and in accordance with the law and regulations.
Fourth, the CPPCC needs to stay committed to extensively pooling positive energy for achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
The CPPCC is the broadest possible patriotic united front organization. The united front is an important instrument used by the CPC to achieve victories in revolution, development, and reform, and it is also an important means for achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
As the saying goes, “A building isn’t made of a single piece of timber, and an ocean isn’t created by a single river.” We need to adhere to and improve the system of multiparty cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC, improve our work mechanisms, and put up more platforms in order to create conditions for the democratic parties and persons without party affiliation to play a better role in the CPPCC.
We need to fully implement the Party’s policies on ethnic groups and religions, and actively guide people of all ethnic groups to enhance their sense of identification with our great country, and to help them further identify with the Chinese nation, Chinese culture, and the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. We need to encourage religious leaders and believers to play an active role in stimulating economic and social development, and promote ethnic unity and religious harmony.
We need to be firmly committed to implementing the principles of “one country, two systems,” “Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong,” “Macao people governing Macao,” and “a high degree of autonomy”; push forward the thorough and accurate implementation of the basic laws of Hong Kong and Macao; promote the mainland’s exchanges and cooperation with the two regions; and maintain their long-term prosperity and stability.
We need to uphold the notion that “the people on the two sides of the Taiwan Straits are of one and the same family,” increase our contacts and communications with the relevant parties, organizations, social groups, and people from all backgrounds on the island of Taiwan, and promote the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations.
We need to increase our ties with overseas Chinese, overseas Chinese nationals who have returned to China, and relatives of overseas Chinese nationals who live in China, and safeguard their legitimate rights and interests, encourage them to actively participate in and support the modernization and peaceful reunification of China, and support their efforts to promote cultural exchange between China and other countries.
We need to hold high the banners of peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit; follow China’s overall plan for foreign relations; increase our friendship with other countries’ people, political organizations, media, and think tanks; and make positive contributions to human peace and development.
Fifth, the CPPCC needs to become better able to perform its functions.
The CPPCC is an important part of China’s governance system. It needs to adapt to the requirements for comprehensively deepening reform; use reformist thinking, innovative ideas, and pragmatic measures to become better able to perform its functions; and strive to play a more significant role in modernizing our country’s governance system and capacity for governance.
The CPPCC needs to improve its political understanding, stay firmly committed to its ideals and convictions, strengthen its sense of political identity, and become better able to use scientific theories to size up situations and analyze and solve problems. It needs to improve its capacity for research, stay problem-oriented, carry out fact-finding missions, pool collective wisdom to work out solutions, and strive to make its suggestions more targeted and more to the point. It needs to improve its ability to connect with the people, create new ways to work with them, open up more channels for people from all sectors of society to express appeals concerning matters affecting their interests, and serve as a bridge between them and the government. The CPPCC also needs to become better able to work with others, carry forward its fine traditions of seeking common ground while putting aside differences and striving for understanding and inclusiveness, implement the principles of democratic deliberation and equality in discussions, respect and tolerate the existence and expression of opposing views, unite with people through democratic practices, and with them, find more common ground and increased cooperation.
Party committees at all levels should value and support the cause of the CPPCC; incorporate its political consultation as an important part of the process of decision making; work together with the government and the CPPCC to formulate and implement the annual plan for the work of political consultation; and submit matters for consultation as required before relevant decisions are made and implemented.
We will strengthen democratic oversight of the CPPCC, and improve its mechanisms for organization and leadership, rights and interests protection, information sharing and feedback, and communication and coordination.
We need to promote more intensive and pragmatic participation in the deliberation over and administration of state affairs by the CPPCC, entrust it to carry out investigation and research on major topics, invite members of its committees to participate in the studies and discussions on major projects, and improve the mechanisms for adopting and implementing the results of their participation in the deliberation over and administration of state affairs, so that the CPPCC will play a better role in giving advice to the government.
We need to pay particular attention to strengthening the leading bodies of the CPPCC, improve the mechanism for electing members of its committees, and nominate to its committees those broadly representative and outstanding persons who possess a strong capacity for deliberating over state affairs, enjoy wide recognition from the people, and display both integrity and competence.
We also need to adapt to the country’s economic and social developments and the changes in the structure of the united front, conduct in-depth studies on the thinking of and approaches toward how to make better use of the CPPCC’s inclusiveness in order to broaden its unity, increase its inclusiveness, and expand orderly political participation by the general public.
Members of CPPCC committees play the principal role in carrying out the CPPCC’s work. We need to respect and protect their democratic rights, improve mechanisms for maintaining contact with them, and create conditions conducive to their fulfillment of their duties. Members of CPPCC committees are generally well-known figures and are the focus of much attention, so everything they say and do is both influential and serves as an example to others. We hope all members of CPPCC committees cherish such an honor, abide by the Constitution and laws, have the self-motivation to put into practice core socialist values, practice self-cultivation to further refine their sense of morality and conduct, improve their work style, play a leading role in their own jobs and a representative role for the people from their respective sector, accomplish their mission, and prove worthy of the great trust placed in them.
Dear friends and colleagues,
Socialist deliberative democracy is a unique form and a distinctive strength of China’s socialist democracy. Politically, it is an important embodiment of the Party’s mass line. It was stated at the 18th Party Congress that as China’s socialist democracy progresses, we need to improve the institutions and mechanisms for deliberative democracy and promote its broad-based, multilevel, and institutionalized development. It was stressed at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee that with a focus on the major issues concerning economic and social development and the practical issues that affect people’s immediate interests, the Party should lead extensive deliberations throughout the whole of society and ensure that deliberations are conducted both before decisions are made and during their implementation. These important statements and plans have shown what the way forward will be for China’s socialist deliberative democracy.
We should have a full understanding of the major assessment that socialist deliberative democracy is a unique form and a distinctive strength of China’s socialist democracy. The very purpose of the CPC’s leadership of the people in developing people’s democracy is to guarantee and support their position as masters of the country. Guaranteeing and supporting the position of the people as masters of the country is not simply a slogan or a few hollow words; we must ensure its implementation in both the country’s political and social activities, and guarantee the people’s right to effectively manage state affairs, economic and cultural undertakings, and social affairs in accordance with the law.
A name is not granted by heaven; it must be earned in life. There are many diverse ways to realize democracy, so we cannot just rigidly copy any particular one. Further, we must recognize that there is no such thing as a standard model that is universally acceptable. Whether people enjoy democratic rights or not depends on whether they have the right to vote in elections, as well as whether they have the right to constantly participate in everyday political activities. Besides having the right to democratic elections, it also depends on whether they have right to democratic decision-making, democratic management, and democratic oversight. Socialist democracy requires not just a complete set of institutions and procedures, but also full participation. The position of the people as masters of the country must be given concrete and practical expression to through the exercise of state power by the CPC and its governance of the country, in all aspects of the work of the Party and government organizations at all levels, and through the realization and development of the people’s own interests.
Putting people’s democracy into practice and ensuring the people’s position as masters of the country, demands that we conduct extensive deliberations amongst people throughout the whole of society while governing the country. Mao Zedong once said, “The relations between all aspects of the state need deliberations… You are all familiar with the nature of our government – to do things through consultations with the people… we may call it a consultative government.” Zhou Enlai once said, “The spirit of deliberation of the new-democratic revolution is not in the final voting; it is mainly in the deliberations and repeated discussions that happen before a decision is made.”
Under China’s socialist system, deliberations help when a problem crops up, and matters involving many people are discussed by all those involved; to reach consensus on the wishes and needs of the whole of society is the essence of people’s democracy. On matters that concern the people’s interests, deliberations should be held with the people; without deliberation or with insufficient deliberation, it is difficult to handle these matters well.
We should always hold deliberations when we find and address issues: the more numerous and in-depth, the better. On matters that have a bearing on the interests of people of all our ethnic groups, deliberations will be held extensively throughout the whole of society; on matters that concern the interests of people in one specific area, deliberations will be held among the local people there; on matters that affect the interests of certain groups of people, deliberations will be held among those groups; and on matters that concern the interests of people at the community level, deliberations will be held within the community.
The process of holding extensive deliberations among the people is the process of promoting democracy and drawing on collective wisdom, the process of unifying people’s thinking and building consensus, the process of scientific and democratic decision-making, and the process of ensuring the position of the people as masters of the country. It is only in this way that we can have solid foundations for our country’s governance and for social governance; it is only in this way that we are be able to draw together powerful strength.
In both ancient and modern times, in China and abroad, experience has shown that to guarantee and support the people’s position as masters of the country, it is paramount that people’s lawfully elected representatives participate in the management of state affairs and social activities, and it is equally important that the people participate in such activities through systems and methods other than election. If the people merely have the right to vote but no right of extensive participation, in other words, if they are only awakened at election time but go into hibernation afterwards, then this kind of democracy will only be a formalistic one.
On the basis of the review of our experience with people’s democracy since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, we have made it clear that in such a vast and populous socialist country, extensive deliberation under the leadership of the CPC on major issues affecting the economy and the people’s quality of life embodies the unity of democracy and centralism. Chinese socialist democracy takes two important forms, in one of which, the people exercise their right to vote in elections, and in the other, people from all sectors of society undertake extensive deliberations before major decisions are made. In China, these two forms do not cancel one another out, and nor are they contradictory; they are complementary. They constitute institutional features and strengths of Chinese socialist democracy.
Deliberative democracy is a unique form of Chinese socialist democracy. It springs from our nation’s long-established inclusive political culture, in which we believe that all under heaven belongs to the people and we can seek common ground while putting aside differences. It springs from China’s political evolution in modern times, from the long-term practical experience built as the CPC led the people through the course of revolution, development, and reform; from the great innovations made in our political institutions by all political parties, people’s organizations, ethnic groups, and people from all social strata and different backgrounds after the founding of the People’s Republic of China; and from the continuous innovations in China’s political system since reform and opening up. It has firm cultural, theoretical, practical, and institutional foundations.
Deliberative democracy has been integrated into the whole process of Chinese socialist democracy. The Chinese socialist system of deliberative democracy not only upholds the leadership of the CPC, but also gives expression to the positive role of all sides; it not only upholds the people’s principal position in the country, but also implements the leadership system and organizational principle of democratic centralism; and it not only adheres to the principle of people’s democracy, but also promotes unity and harmony. So, the Chinese socialist system of deliberative democracy diversifies the forms and widens the channels of democracy, and gives it new meaning.
We need to thoroughly understand the fundamental nature of socialist deliberative democracy as an important reflection of the Party’s mass line in the political sphere. The CPC comes from the people, and serves the people. This makes it essential that the People’s Republic of China, which was established by the people under the leadership of the CPC, must closely rely on the people in governing the country and managing society. The CPC carries out its mass line in its work, that is to say, it stays committed to doing everything for the masses and relying on them, following the principle of “from the masses, to the masses,” and translating its correct proposals into people’s conscious actions. The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China stipulates that all power of the state belongs to the people, and all state organs and employees must rely on their support, keep in close touch with them, listen to their opinions and suggestions, accept their oversight, and work hard to serve them. Both the CPC and state organs must follow the mass line and rely heavily on the people in their exercise of state power.
As the Chinese saying goes, “The rise or fall of a political power depends on whether it accommodates the people’s will.” The future of a political party or government ultimately rests on popular support. The whole course of the development of the CPC and the People’s Republic reveals that the progress we have made in our cause has relied on our always having maintained close ties with the people and our representing of the fundamental interests of the greatest possible majority of the people. However, if we become divorced from the people and lose their support, that cause will be doomed to failure. We must put the people’s interests first. Under no circumstances can we ever alter our standpoint of breathing the same air as and sharing a common future with the people, nor can we forget that our purpose is to serve the people wholeheartedly, nor can we discard the view of historical materialism that the people are the real heroes.
Serving the people wholeheartedly and always representing the fundamental interests of the greatest possible majority of the people are the important preconditions and foundation for the implementation and development of deliberative democracy. It is stipulated in the Constitution of the CPC that the CPC has no special interests of its own outside of the interests of the working class and the greatest possible majority of the people. The CPC and the state it leads represent the fundamental interests of the greatest possible majority of the people, and all of their theories, lines, principles, policies, and work plans should come from the people and should be formulated and implemented for the people’s interests. With this as our major political premise, we have the obligation, and ability to listen extensively to comments and suggestions from all sectors of society.
By extensively listening to suggestions and recommendations and accepting criticism and oversight through various forms of deliberation, we will, under the CPC’s unified leadership, be able to reach the broadest possible consensus on all decisions we make and on all our work, and in doing so, ensure that factional competition and even bitter disagreement between parties and between interest groups can be avoided. We will be able to have all demands on matters affecting the interests of all sides heard before decisions are made so that political forces do not remain fixed in their own opinions or reject others with different views for the sake of their own interests. We will be able to put in place broad-based mechanisms for spotting and correcting errors so that decisions are not made without a clear understanding of the circumstances, or on the basis of belief in one’s own infallibility. We will be able to form mechanisms for ensuring people’s participation in administration and governance at all levels in order to effectively overcome the problems of the people being unable to voice their opinions and finding it difficult to take an active part in the country’s political activities and social governance. We will also be able to pool the wisdom and strength of the whole of society together to advance reform and development, effectively overcoming any problems with our decisions and work not being carried out for lack of consensus. This is where the unique strength of our socialist deliberative democracy lies.
Democracy is not an ornament to be used for decoration; it is to be used to solve the problems that the people want to solve. In all the activities of the Party as it exercises state power, and in all of China’s activities related to governance, we need to respect the people’s principal position in the country, and respect their creativity. We need to look to them as our teachers, and ensure that increasing political wisdom and strengthening the ability to govern become deeply rooted in the people’s innovative practical efforts. We need to incorporate all constructive advice and opinions from all sides of society into the governance of the country.
As the old saying goes, “Heaven sees as the people see; Heaven hears as the people hear.” The realization, protection, and development of the fundamental interests of the greatest possible majority of the people should be the starting point and ultimate goal of all our work, and in carrying out major tasks and making major decisions we must always take into account the actual situations with the people, their opinions, and the general sentiment amongst them. We must put the people’s interests first, bear in mind their expectations, listen sincerely to their demands, work to genuinely reflect their wishes, and show concern for their difficulties. We need to be more community-focused in our work, regularly visit communities, and stay close to the people so that we can become empathetic to their actual conditions, ease their concerns, address their discontent, and enable them to feel that we care about them. We must do more for the people and bring practical benefit to them so as to spark their enthusiasm, initiative, and creativity.
We need to work hard to carry out the strategic task of promoting the broad-based, multilevel, and institutionalized development of deliberative democracy. Looking forward, we must adhere to the principle of democratic centralism, encourage the free airing of views, gather advice from all sides, and get every member of society to think and work for a common cause so that we can achieve success in all our programs, consolidate the political situation of stability and unity, and harmonize the relations between political parties, between ethnic groups, between religions, between social strata, and between our compatriots at home and overseas. This is what is meant by the saying, “If you use the eyes of all those under heaven to see, there is nothing you cannot see. If you use the ears of all those under heaven to hear, there is nothing you cannot hear. If you use the minds of all those under heaven to think, there is nothing you cannot understand.”
Socialist deliberative democracy is not a matter of doing things for the sake of appearances; it must be carried out in a down-to-earth manner. And it must be put into practice in all respects, rather than just in a certain respect, and across the country at all levels, rather than just at a certain level. We must establish a system of socialist deliberative democracy that has reasonable procedures and is all-inclusive so as to ensure that it is carried out on the basis of proper institutions, rules and regulations, and procedures.
When we talk about deliberation, we mean real deliberation. Real deliberation requires deliberation both before and during the process of decision-making. It requires that decisions are made and work is adjusted on the basis of opinions and suggestions from all sectors. It also requires that institutions are in place to ensure the results of deliberations are implemented, so that our decisions and work both better reflect public will and are more suitable to real-life conditions.
We need to take advantage of every mechanism, every channel, and every method to conduct extensive deliberations on the major issues of reform, development, and stability, and especially on the issues that have a bearing on people’s immediate interests. We need to both respect the wishes of the majority of the people, and at the same time take into account the reasonable demands of those who are in the minority. We should extensively solicit opinions and pool wisdom from society, expand consensus, and bolster cooperative strength.
We need to expand the deliberative channels for the CPC, people’s congresses, people’s governments, the CPPCC, the democratic parties, people’s organizations, community organizations, enterprises, public institutions, social organizations, and think-tanks; we need to conduct deep-reaching deliberations on political affairs, lawmaking, government administration, democracy, social issues, and community-level issues; and we need to improve deliberation through proposals, conferences, informal discussions, seminars, hearings, public notices, assessments, consulting, the Internet, and other means. Through this, we can continue to make our deliberative democracy more scientific and effective.
The key element of socialist deliberative democracy lies with the people. A great number of decisions and tasks affecting people’s interests happen mainly at the community level. In line with the principle of deliberation among the people and for the people, we need to redouble our efforts in developing deliberative democracy at the community level, with a focus on conducting deliberations among community members. All decisions that affect people’s immediate interests must be made on the basis of opinions fully solicited from the people, as well as deliberations conducted with them through various means, on different levels, and from different sectors. We should improve the system by which community-level organizations maintain contact with the people, strengthen deliberation on community affairs, make a good job of two-way communication of information from the top down and the bottom up, and make sure the people manage their own affairs well in accordance with the law. We must make the exercise of power more open and standardized, and increase transparency in the operations of the Party, the government, and the judiciary, as well as in the administration of other areas. We must ensure that the people oversee the exercise of power and that power is exercised in the daylight.
Dear friends and colleagues,
65 years ago today, in his speech at the opening ceremony of the First Plenary Session of the CPPCC, Mao Zedong said, “Among us, there is the common feeling that our work will go down in the pages of human history. It will say: the Chinese people, encompassing one quarter of humanity, have now stood up.” “From now on, our nation will belong to the community of peace-loving and freedom-loving nations of the world, and will work courageously and industriously to cultivate its own civilization and happiness, while at the same time promoting world peace and freedom.” At present, the Chinese nation, long having stood up, is composing a new, even more glorious chapter of our times with diligence and dedication.
There is a saying that those who keep up their efforts often achieve their goal, and those who keep on walking often reach their destination. The grand course of the CPPCC’s 65 years of development has been recorded in the annals of history, but the bright future of the Chinese nation has yet to be created, with one heart, by all of its sons and daughters. Let us be united even more closely, and hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Let us forge ahead as one, break new ground through innovation, and continue to write new chapters for the cause of the CPPCC.