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·Li Chongfu

Li Chongfu, male and from the Han ethnic group, born in September 1943, is a native of Ezhou, Hubei Province and a member of the Communist Party of China. In July 1981 he graduated from the department of philosophy of the Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He is a professor and PhD student advisor of the Academy of Marxism of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a member of the 10th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Literature Study Committee, and the president of the Chinese Society of Historical Materialism. His academic expertise is in Marxist Philosophy and Scientific Socialism. Since 1998, he has enjoyed a special allowance awarded by the State Council.


Really Study, Really Understand, Really Believe, Really Use


Professor Li Chongfu, is a contemporary, well-known Marxist scholar, and is concerned with country and society, absorbing nutrients in practice, searches for true knowledge in exploration. In 2006, Professor Li Chongfu by virtue of his firm political stance, a solid theoretical foundation and excellent academic achievements was elected as the first academician of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. As Professor Li Chongfu’s student, I had the honor to interview him and recorded his life, learning, teaching, being an "official" and other invaluable experiences.



 Chapter of life: from a cowboy to a well-known scholar


Zhong Jun (hereinafter short for Zhong): Marx's Das Kapital in French preamble once said: "A person only climbs, that rugged small road bravely, can hope to reach the glorious summit." As a contemporary well-known Marxist scholar, your growth path hasn’t been easy, right?

Li Chongfu (hereinafter short for Li): First I have to note, I'm just an ordinary scholar coming from a rural area. But it can not be denied that, my path from cowboy to scholar encountered a lot of ups and downs. When I was a child, the family economic condition was particularly bad. As the family was poor, I didn’t start primary school until I was nine. I started junior high school without an examination in 1958; this period was a problem, in that it was particularly difficult to find food. Nearing junior high school graduation, because of economic reasons, I had the idea to drop out. Later, under the persuasion and encouragement of Teacher Xiong and President Lee, I was promoted to high school. From primary to junior high school, I insisted on a work-study program, often used a holiday for hard labor to maintain the school's liquidity. I had worked as a porter in the granaries and the pier, as a laborer on infrastructure sites I’ll tell you a short story, my classmates and I from primary to high school, never ate apples. When we graduated from high school, three of us spent one dime to buy an apple. Nevertheless, I did not relax my own learning. I studied hard with fairly good results and was always in the top three of the class. I remembered one time, when a high school physics teacher gave us a set of difficult tests; I got the full marks. The teacher was so happy that he wanted to give me his suit he was wearing as a reward. Now I know why I stuck to my studies, it is related to my attitude to study at school, so it is a pity to drop out of school. Also, I was a cadre in primary school, as the captain of the Young Pioneers, Chairman of classes, group secretary and other duties. During the college entrance examination, because I had good science achievement, I intended to apply for science and engineering. However, because of the lack of information, our county medical examiner said because of my myopia I could not apply for science and engineering. I believed him, but did not want to give up science and engineering learning. Taking into account philosophy including both liberal arts and science, I applied for philosophy at the Renmin University of China. Although during the college entrance examination review period, my mother died of cancer, I was distraught, but I was still the luckiest among more than 800 candidates who had applied for the Department of Philosophy at Renming University of China in Hubei Province because I succeeded.

The threshold of the philosophy department at Renmin University was higher and thrived with a special canteen, called the "philosophy stove". University should be five years, because of the "Great Cultural Revolution”, we studied for six years. In college, our class was an education reform pilot class and it also had a work-study program. I worked in the Beijing First Machine Tool Plant; with the people of the machinery plant, I also worked at the Yanshan Petrochemical plant too. When the "Great Cultural Revolution" began, we actively participated. But upto early 1967, we thought the trend was not right, so the Red Guards became the Happy School. As a result, we had more time to study. The books I read were more systematic that remained vivid in my mind. History of Chinese Philosophy with four-volumes edited by Ren Jiyu, two volumes of Selected Works of Marx and Engels, Das Kapital in three volumes, Chinese History with multi-volumes edited by Fan Wenlan, History of Western Philosophy compiled by Peking University and a lot of classics. It should be said, studying at the Renmin University of China, I laid a more solid theoretical foundation.

After graduating I left Beijing and accepted "re-education" in an Anti-chemical Mission of the Wuhan forces. Two years later, I was assigned to work in the cultural center, Huangshi City, Hubei Province, participated in the editing of the Han Opera play The Peddler in Mine. Six months later, I was transferred to the Department of Cultural Affairs of the municipal authorities for seven or eight years as a secretary. In 1978, the CASS Graduate School enrolled the first batch of graduates. I got the news, under the leaders' encouragement; then I registered one day before the deadline. The results were for more than 300 candidates in the city, I was the only one admitted.

Zhong: As the “The first phase of Huangpu” of the CASS Graduate School, can you talk about your impressions of the Gradutae School?

Li: Impressed, the school conditions were still very difficult. The philosophy dept was an independent school with the largest numbers and was like a guerrilla education. We borrowed a school site to study in the Union Cadre School near Taoran Park, Beiyuan Hotel and Beijing National Day School. The teaching style at the Graduate School was essentially the same as now, more open and free, which greatly developed our independent thinking and research capabilities. My mentor Zhao Fengqi and Professor Xia Zhentao gave me a great education and help in scholarship and life.

After graduating from the Graduate School, I stayed to be a Marxism teacher. Three years later, I was transferred to the Shanghai Municipal Party School. At the end of 1988, I was transferred to teach at Tsinghua University, and served as director of the Department of Philosophy, and deputy director of the Social Science Department. Working for a decade at Tsinghua University, we had an academic team with firm stand in the struggle against bourgeois liberalization and remained highly consistent with the central party. In the spring and summer of 1989, during the Beijing political turmoil, I was selected to go to Zhongnanhai with some comrades to join the dynamic analysis team, and write articles about the struggle against bourgeois liberalization. In 1997, I was transferred back to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and served as a leader in the Marxist-Leninist dept. To be frank, because of the experience at Graduate School, I was very emotional about the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, because it was like, “returning home".

Zhong: From a cowboy to a college student, from a porter to a cadre, from a graduate student, Party School teacher to scholar of Marxism, it seems that you are also experienced difficulties, but you do not seem to have succumbed to these difficulties and frustrations, so what are the reasons to support and encourage you to go on till now?

Li: I think there are mainly three factors to making progress. First, thanks to the education and training of the Party and the people. Academic growth is closely linked with the fate of the Party and the people. Without the development of Party and the country, there is no personal growth. When I was a child, I was able to complete my study with my poorer family, because the state provided us with a people' scholarship. Second, it was also thanks to the care and training of many teachers. In my life, I met a lot of good teachers. Primary school Teacher Xiong gave me a lot of care, President Li in junior school and high school Teacher Qin at the critical time gave me great enlightenment and encouragement, so I was able to continue my education. Third, thanks to my firm study ambitions, I was determined to study when I was little, in retrospect, there were likely to be three phases. The first idea was very simple that the purpose for studying was to change the situation of the individual and families; Later, after the upper primary and junior high school, I learned about the humiliation in Chinese modern history and struggle history, began thinking about the individual, the state and national fate; after high school and university, until learning Marxism, and joining the league and the Party, I recognized that work and struggle for the state and the nation were not abstract, but rather to struggle for the cause of socialism and communism.

Zhong: You have served on the leadership of Social Science, Philosophy and Sociology Department at Tsinghua University, served as director of Marxism of CASS and other duties. Can you tell us about your experiences in managing the department and institute?

Li: Being part of the leadership in education and research institutions is very different from the leadership in the Party and government organs. The leaders in research institutions, are primarily scholars, his nature is to conduct scientific research. It should be said, knowledge and power are not necessarily linked. In the research unit, management is a kind of service, for scientific research is at the center. I think the focus and goal of research management is to promote scientific research, talents, achievements, and ideas, we should not confuse research and management as power. Research and management must have a sense of service and can not mistake it as an official. We should have a sense of personnel achievement, be aware of the truth, explore the truth as the central task, dare to speak the truth and uphold the truth. We should have the inclusive sense; dialectically and comprehensively look at talents and comrades. In place of piles of intellectuals, leaders must have guides and metrics to look at other people's strengths and help them find the weaknesses themselves. We should have a sense of position, have a high sense of responsibility for the research and dissemination of Marxist theory, develop and defend the Marxist position on research.

Generally speaking, I consider my leadership as useful work but there are also shortcomings and deficiencies. Sometimes it is a matter of principle, lack of harmony. I speak too straight and not in a roundabout way, and can not say the opposite of what is true, so it is easy to offend people. I love young people, and wish them to be talented, but sometimes guidance is not enough and I am not really persuasive. So never too old to learn.

Zhong: It was said that the Marxism Research Institute of CASS was established under your initiative, can you talk about this situation?

Li: Establishing the Marxism Research Institute was the right decision and it was with the guidance of the superior party committee, not an individual, I just did some specific work. It should be said, the establishment of it was inevitable. The first is the great practice called theory; the CPC Central Committee was very concerned about Marxist theory and curriculum development. Following profound social changes was not only a rare opportunity for theory development, but also a serious challenge for theory research. Under the influence of a variety of factors at home and abroad, Marxism has the risk of being marginalized, needs to create a Marxist Research Institution of greater influence in the country to boost morale, integrate and develop positions. In this context, we, several scholars reported and recommended the establishment of the Marxism Research Institute. Under the support and guidance of establishing the Marxist Research Institution by the central leading comrades, President Chen and the Party group, the Party group held meetings to set up preparations for the establishment of the Marxist Research Institution. I did some specific work in the process of establishing the Marxist Research Institution. We relied on the support of the leadership and the masses before initially setting up the organizational structure of the Marxist Research Institution and academic platform. It should be said, for the development of the Marxist-Leninist position, making a strong position on Marxism, our work was just a beginning that needed a long-term struggle.


Chapter of studying style: fame-regardless, pragmatic, modest


Zhong: The current social climate is more impulsive and the utilitarian thinking is more serious. Now, this impulsiveness seems to have started to spread to academia. A few scholars, especially several young scholars want to get quick success, focus on money, fame, and lack a scholarly attitude, is like engaging in "academic fast food", which also produce a number of academic bubbles. With this academic phenomenon, do you have any good suggestions on scholarship?

Li: Scholars should have a positive relationship between being a person and being a scholar. We should understand that the first is being a person; the focus is being a person; then a scholar. Writing articles, first, life; then, profession. In a sense, being a person is more difficult than being a scholar, the same as writing about life is more difficult than a profession. A man should have the state "feel no shame before God, man and your heart". Knowledge of Marxism is about the Party and the nature of class, so we must first solve the problems of outlook and methodology.

We need not only separate "why making scholarship" and "how to make scholarship", but also link them together. The key to solve "why making scholarship" is to establish the correct concept of fame and fortune. It is undeniable that the pursuit of fame and fortune is human nature. However, we should look at it from the people’s point of view and society to consider fame and not only see the tip of the nose but also the fundamental and long-term benefits. Not too much focus on empty reputation and substantial benefits. Be open-minded about fame and fortune, between intentional and unintentional. Fame is not the starting point for scholarship; the starting point should be the cause, the Party and the people. According to Marx's view, money is God in the goods world which is likely to cause monetary fetishism and spontaneously lead to alienation. Looking at money, try to see through it. Under certain conditions, money is just a symbol. Wu Renbao said it well, “thousands of rooms just need a bed". On reputation, we should be conscious, see through intentional and unintentional and let it run its course. Subjective reputation can not be regarded too seriously; the article can not be written for fame; write articles and think only of the pursuit of truth. Academic reputation is an objective form, not fame. Scholars with the prestige  should be more modest. The more people learn, the more humble they are; the more modest they are, the more academic attainments can be improved. Learn the spirit of scholarship of Confucius’s “If a man in the morning hears the right way, he may die in the evening without regret” and an ancient Greek philosopher “finding a causal explanation is good to be the King”. The pursuit of prestige should be implemented through hard work and scholarship.

How to become a scholar is a very important issue. First, the scholar should be solid and real. Tell, work and live honestly. Writing articles and proposing ideas without being opportunistic or having it both ways should be faithful and obey the truth. We must not engage in academic bubbles, like economic bubbles, will eventually burst and the bubble scholars will be eliminated. Second, the scholarship should have one direction, not like playing tunnel warfare, changing frequently. Again, the scholarship must have expertise and the real scholars are irreplaceable. Finally, a scholar should uphold the truth, correct wrong practices, and cultivate academic integrity, academic accomplishments and academic tolerance. In particular the study of Marxism, also have the courage to uphold the truth, can not be a fence-sitter. The real Marxist, even in the face of adversity can uphold the truth. Of course, adhering to the truth is not stubborn. We have the courage to uphold the truth, at the same time; we also have the courage to correct errors in order to uphold the truth. Upholding the truth and upholding the principle of the Party spirit in essence are not contradictory. We should combine firmness, self-awareness in principle and flexibility.

Zhong: The current study of Marxist theory, to a certain extent, is faced with becoming "marginalized" many young workers in Marxist theory face this embarrassing situation,but still adhere to a clear-cut position on Marxist Studies. As an academician in the Marxist Study Faculty and professional doctoral supervisor of socialism with Chinese characteristics, from the teacher's point of view, what are the suggestions and requests for these young scholars?

Li: We first should see the positive side. In the contemporary specific history conditions, the choice of Marxism in the community is not a fashionable choice. Therefore, some young people are willing to plunge into the cause of Marxism study and are determined to be theoretical soldiers whose spirit is very valuable. Overall, our research team on Marxist theory is a potentialy promising team. Especially for Marxist researchers in the CASS, the Marxist Research Institution is building a new, very good academic platform and providing new development opportunities for us. Nevertheless, the young Marxists also need to train their internal strength. Work hard in being a man, honest and frank; work hard in learning and mastering the basic principles; work hard in understanding the practice of reform and development for the country and the people; work hard in one’s profession and his main direction; work hard in exercising and improving their theoretical thinking. This is because the development of practice has no limit and Marxist study has no limit. Researchers need to continue their climb to a higher realm.


Academic chapter: vigorously promote Marxism in China and theoretical innovation; strive to provide theoretical support for the cause of the Party and people


    Zhong: Your major was Marxist philosophy in college and graduate school and you later focused on socialism with Chinese characteristics. Can you explain the reasons for the focus on academic transformation and transferring to the specific situation?

Li: During the late 1970s to the late 1980s, I was mainly focused on Marxist epistemology, researched dialectical materialism and historical materialism that involved the entire Marxist philosophy. I was involved in the research and writing of The Occurrence of Epistemology Theory, Introduction to the Thinking World, edited and co-edited Based Tutorial of Marxist Philosophy, Modern Philosophical Wisdom, and Living Value Theory of Mao Zedong, translated and published Non-biological Reflection. These are all research on philosophy, particularly epistemology. Mainly contact information science, from the perspective of information theory to study Marxist epistemology as a dynamic reflection theory of modernization. The Responding Category and the Nature of Information had been published in the mid-1980s on Philosophy Study, and promoted the academic contention about the nature of epistemology (a dynamic reflection or a construction, selection). However, subsequently, taking into account the needs of both, my research focus shifted from philosophy to scientific socialism. First, the need for students’ ideological and theoretical education. Students’ problems not only philosophical, but more social reality life problems. Therefore, the focus of the study shifts from the principles of Marxist philosophy to scientific socialism, then socialism with Chinese characteristics. Second, Marxist study requires a broader vision. The three branches of Marxism have close internal relations which are interlinked. If we do not understand Marxist philosophy, in particular, historical materialism, we won’t understand the principles of Marxist political economy; if we do not understand Marxist political economy, we will not understand the basic system and architecture of scientific socialism. After the academic focus transformation, I wrote a monograph Contest - On Strategic Thought of Socialism Historical Fate, chiefly edited Marxism for 150 Years and Major Changes of Socialism for 150 Years, published "Three Represents” Important Ideas and Historical Materialism, On the Philosophical Foundation of Scientific Development Concept, A Number of Methodological Issues for Building a Socialist Harmonious Society and other papers. Among them, Marxism for 150 Years summarized philosophy, political economy and the law of scientific socialism development and the development path since the birth of Marx in a broad way.

It now appears that this shift is necessary. Because only understanding all the basic aspects of Marxism in a broad way, can help the organization and guide the research work of the institute, and can help figure out what problems are at the cutting edge and what problems are academic development. It should be said, my academic interests are in philosophy. One of my wishes is to write a weightier book about Marxist philosophy after retiring.

Zhong: Marxist theory is in a crucial period. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe, the world socialist movement is at a low ebb. Also, because the theories of Marxism do not satisfactorily explain some of the major problems in real life, and fail to fully demonstrate the persuasive and appeal of the theory of Marxism. As a long-term expert and scholar in Marxist theory, for this case, which aspects should our theoretical workers strengthen?

Li: I consider enhancing the persuasion and appeal of Marxism, need Marxist theory workers to further clarify and strengthen the three aspects of study and research.

First, figure out the starting point of theoretical studies. Why study Marxism? We should have a positive relationship between vocation and career. Marxism is not a simple job, but the cause given to the Party and the people. Regard the request of the cause of Marxism as a starting point for studying Marxism. Only taking the study of Marxism as a means of livelihood, it is easy to be biased, which tends to mistake fame and fortune as the goal. Marxism as a career is the theoretical sign and pillar of promoting the great cause of socialism, which inevitably combines with the significant practical problems, more in-depth studies and explores the theory of Marxism, which helps to strengthen the persuasion and attraction of Marxism.

Second, we must fully and accurately grasp the basic theory and spiritual essence of Marxism. For the basic theory, principle, and system of Marxism, we should strive to study, understand, believe and use it in the real world. There are three levels, first of all, to not only know each one’s principle, but also to know the reasons. Each one must be combined with practices to understand. Second, in conjunction with the system, understand the status and role of each principle in the system. Finally, understand clearly the relationship between the principles of system and human history, and the reality of practice. Only though these several levels will the theory have a firm foothold and deep roots. When Marxist theory workers reach this realm, they are not easily shaken. The philosophy of Marxism is a telescope and microscope on policy and thinking. If we learn it well, we will reach the ideological realm just like Du Fu said “When shall I reach the top and hold all mountains in a single glance”.

Third, lay the practical foundation of Marxism solidly and firmly. Theory should be open to practice, but not go around logic. Although we can not do everything to study Marxism, but we should go deep into practice, be good at summarizing the theory in practice and use theories to observe society. Marxism can not leave the reality of practice which means no vitality. The quality of Marxist theory is keeping pace with the times, so Marxism should be concerned about the practice of revolution, reform and construction. Social practice is the only source and the sole criterion of Marxist theory.

There is a more important issue, that is, handle the relationship of adhering to and developing Marxist theory: Where there is no insistence, there is no development. The world is multi-faceted, three-dimensional and with different understanding looked at from different perspectives. But we must adhere to the basic principles of Marxism; uphold a scientific world outlook and methodology. This is something for long-term work; only adhering to it does not work, we must also develop it. The vitality of Marxism lies in the practice of it; we must unify, adhere to and develop. If we do not handle this conflict properly, there will be bias. This also includes universality and be aware of the contradictions. If we do not adhere to the universal truth of Marxism, we will get lost. Mastering universality we will be able to stand higher and see further, not only to grasp the currency, but also scientifically see the future. Grasping the particularities and concreteness, our understanding of social life will be more real. Therefore, based on national conditions, understand, adhere to and use of Marxism. Socialism with Chinese characteristics is a new form of scientific socialism. Not only adhere to the basic beliefs of scientific socialism, but also combine Chinese practice with Chinese characteristics, making it concrete.

To uphold and develop Marxism, also properly handle the relationship between relative stability of the basic principles and theoretical content changes. Marxism is the unity of the three "isms". Marxism is about the world doctrine, all national working classes' doctrine, changes from capitalist society to socialist society (and the future communism) and new social construction era doctrine. If Marxism can not become our own doctrine of nation, the state and the Party, it will lose its function and become a monotonous, dry and abstract thing. Only by combining the abstract and concrete things and injecting a national form and flavor of the times, will Marxism have vitality.

Zhong: On the one hand, western hostile forces denigrate, demonize the socialist ideology, on the other hand, whilst promoting the ideology of "Theory of the End" and "Dilution Theory". At the same time, due to some domestic reasons, Marxism as a mainstream ideology, its status is facing a challenge and a certain degree of weakening. For this situation, you have had more in-depth studies on anti-"peaceful evolution"; can you talk about this problem?

Li: On this issue, I wrote a book called Contest - On Strategic Thought of Socialism Historical Fate. In this book, I focused on the socialist country after seizing power, how to defend the regime, how to protect against peaceful evolution and how to prevent Westernization and differentiation. In fact, since the birth of Marx, hostile forces used the reactionary hard and soft hands against Marxism. On the one hand, they tried to extinguish and strangle Marxism, on the other hand, they attempted to soften and distort Marxism. Such as at the time of Marx’s marriage, the Prussian authorities tried to bribe Marx through a friend of the father-in-law; if they could not bribe him successfully, they persecuted him. At the beginning of the Soviet nation, international imperialism had used armed invasion and economic blockade to attempt to stifle the nascent Soviet regime; later, when the Soviet Union gained a firm foothold, there was also internal softening of the Soviet peaceful evolution. At the same time, Marxism was still faced with the collapse of opportunism from inside and the danger of tampering with Marxism.

In China, there are also these problems. Such as the Korean War and Vietnam War, the United States spearhead pointed to China mainly. If the war could not make it, they would engage in ideological and political penetration. China struggled on adhering to the issue of the Four Cardinal Principles which was very sharp. Since the early 1980s, waves of bourgeois liberalization continued to breed and spread and did not consistently adhere to the Four Cardinal Principles which were the important causes. Against bourgeois liberalization, Comrade Deng Xiaoping's policy was very firm very sharp. His basic line of "one central task and two basic points", on the one hand, he stressed the reform and opening up, on the other hand he stressed the four cardinal principles without wavering in order to effectively curb the strategic scheme of the peaceful evolution of Western hostile forces. Comrade Mao Zedong pushed forward against the idea of peaceful evolution and were intertwined with the error of his old age, but as long as we weeded out the “left” errors, the idea of Mao's anti-peaceful evolution made sense that reflected a Marxist strategist’s vision. Mao Zedong’s foresaw the evolutionary trend of the Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe illustrated this problem. Deng Xiaoping's theory of the struggle against bourgeois liberalization and the idea of opposing "Westernization" and "division" were all the same strain of development thinking of Mao Zedong's anti-peace evolution. Deng Xiaoping emphasized that the struggle against bourgeois liberalization should go through the whole process of Chinese socialist modernization; we could see the four cardinal principles were the foundation of our country.

To oppose peaceful evolution, the most fundamental is to rely on the development of productive forces, to rely on the perfection of the socialist system and institutional innovation. To adhere to the reform and opening up unswervingly, to adhere to the socialist orientation of reform unswervingly, must uphold the dominant public ownership at this stage of the basic economic system of common development of diversified economic elements. If without public ownership as an economic subject, there is no socialism with Chinese characteristics. At the same time we should unify the development of the public economy and a variety of economic ownerships. Public ownership should not be just a slogan, but real economic pillars, not only the quality requirements, but also the quantity provisions. In terms of quality, the public ownership should control the economic lifeline of the country and grasp modern productivity; in terms of quantity, public ownership should reflect the dominant public assets. Public assets mainly referred to operating assets.

Oppose peaceful evolution, but also build a multi-dimensional, three-dimensional line politically and ideologically to defend against hostile forces infiltration of our party members, cadres and people, especially the younger generation. Not a passive low defense, but it should take the initiative to guide, gradually occupy the commanding heights of economic, technological, cultural, ideological and theoretical strategies. In the second chapter of Contemporary Capitalism and World Socialism, I specifically emphasized the proper handling of political and economic relations. We must persist in taking economic construction as the center, but can not ignore the policy. Political and economic issues under the socialist system are a global problem; one of the major errors of Mao Zedong in his later years did not deal with political and economic relations. Socialist politics is the concentrated expression of the economy. The basic economic interests need a basic political system as protection. But we can not go to the other extreme of, agreeing with the popular to play down the political, ideological, or Marxism's false claims. “Left” and right errors are very dangerous. Politics should be put in its proper place. Abandon the doctrine of political apathy and do not underestimate policy.

Another important issue to correctly handle the political issues, and how to treat the class struggle. Simply, our country, since the completion of socialist transformation, the exploiting class as a class in our country has been eliminated, thus the class struggle is not our main contradiction. But the class struggle within a certain range will exist for a long time, under certain conditions may also intensify. Neither artificially expands the class struggle, but we can not forget the "class struggle" errors, nor deny and ignore the objective existence of class struggle. Facing the things associated with the class struggle, we must adhere to the correct class analysis. Our Communists unique ideological weapon must not self-discharge the ideological and theoretical arm. At present, I, as a chief expert, in Marxist theory and the construction of major projects - the basic viewpoints of Marxist classics sub-project "Marxist classical writers on class and class struggle, the proletarian revolution and the basic viewpoints of dictatorship” and a group of comrades are seriously examining this issue.

Related to this, there is a problem of how to treat the revolution. Now, they say to change revolutionary Marxism into the construction of Marxism, revolutionary philosophy into a construction of philosophy. I do not agree with this view which is a typical metaphysical argument. Revolution includes the destruction of the old world and the construction of the new world. The destruction of the old world and the construction of the new world with historical ties have in common and we must adhere to fulfill the historical mission of the proletariat and the Communist Party’s leadership. Because the reform and construction of socialism is all revolution. As long as the class has not been completely eliminated, as long as socialism is still not a complete victory, as long as the goal of communism is not final, the Communists will not be able to bid farewell to revolution. Of course, the tasks and characteristics of the revolution in different stages are different. Prior to the establishment of socialism, the purpose of revolution was to seize state power. The Socialism stage is to use state machinery, defense and develop socialist achievements, and build a new life.

Admittedly, the current world capitalist system is strong, socialism is at a disadvantage; especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and after drastic changes in Eastern Europe, the forces of socialism underwent a great upheaval, great differentiation and major reorganization. For this situation, I propose the concept of "surround and anti-circumvention", which is now a socialist country surrounded by capitalist countries, at the same time, capitalist countries are surrounded by the broad masses of the people. So we should establish an international united front of the masses to oppose hegemonies and power politics, but not necessary a unified organization. The slogan, Marx and Engels proposed was "the world unite!" and Lenin proposed “the world proletariat, oppressed peoples and oppressed nations unite!” are still meaningful. This is a reflection and development of proletarian internationalism. Although it is not a unified organization or at the center of the international communist movement, but this does not mean that all working classes and their communists do not need to support each other and coordinate with each other. If we then were able to maintain the unity of the socialist camp, the current pattern will not be the case. At this time, the capitalist countries can reach some kind of coordination, while socialist countries have insufficient coordination. I seriously raise this issue in my book, if the socialist countries do not have the vision of internationalism; it is easy to be broken up. We need to show various proletariats and their political Parties how to achieve some form of coordination, which we also need to study and explore. After the 1871 Paris Commune failed to the 1905 Russian February Revolution, was the first low point for the world socialist movement. From the late 1980s to present, we are going through the second lowest ebb of the world socialist movement. We should conscientiously sum up the lessons learned out of the first low point. The current situation is somewhat similar to the first downturn. We should seriously study the relationship between contemporary socialism and capitalism and development trends. We should conscientiously sum up the Soviet Union, the negative lessons of the collapse in Eastern Europe, China, Vietnam and other countries through making ​​great achievements in positive experiences of socialist reform and opening up and combine the two in order to help the world socialist movement get out of the low tide. The low ebb of the revolution perhaps is the climax of spreading and developing Marxism.

Zhong: The last question, can you briefly tell us about the cutting-edge issues in Marxism theory?

Li: In the 21st century, history has given us an important task---to be at the forefront of world socialism, and for the Chinese Communists be representative of the Chinese proletariat and the Chinese people. I consider the most cutting-edge problem, in theory, that is, under the premise of adhering to the basic principles of Marxism, summarize the Lenin era, the practice and the development of science in order to achieve the modernization problem of dialectical materialism and historical materialism. Specifically, how to treat the relationship between the socialist system and capitalist system and its historical destiny in the end? How to continue to adhere to Marxism and the development of Marxism? How to adhere to innovate and push forward the Chinese socialist cause and insist on the right direction? How to help the world socialist movement get out of the low ebb as quickly as possible, and usher in the climax? These issues are the current, cutting-edge and historical major issues.


After an eight hour interview with Teacher Li, although I am a little tired, I am very excited and encouraged. He is knowledgeable with rigorous scholarship and quick thinking and has a solid theoretical foundation of Marxism and academic accomplishment. The saying goes, better to teach a person who is hungry to fish than to give him some fish. Teacher Li teaches us both "fish" and "catching fish". The teacher not only teaches us how tobecome scholars but also teaches us how to behave. A teacher with firm ideals and beliefs in Marxism, a diligent spirit of scholarship, a down-to-earth style, the character of hating injustice like poison, a sense of social responsibility concerning the weak are bound to long-term impact on our students.

The strong pass of the enemy is like a wall of iron, yet with firm strides, we are conquering its summit. Teacher Li is 65 years old this year, but his academic life seems to be just beginning. At 65 years old, he began learning typing to record the historical destiny of thinking and looking forward to the world, human beings, the proletariat and Marxism cause.


Zhong Jun, male, Han nationality, was born in November 1979 in Changle County, Shandong Province. Communist Party member, Doctor of Laws. Now the assistant researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Institute of Marxism. My main research direction is the theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics. I have published many articles in the journal Marxism Research, Xinhua Digest, Cutting-edge Theory.


(Translated by Zhufuxiaofei)




Editor: Wang Daohang

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