Leng Rong, male and from the Han ethnic group, born in August, 1953, is a native of Beijing and a member of the Communist Party of China. He is president of the Presidium of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Academic Divisions. In July, 1983, he graduated from the department of philosophy of Peking University. He serves as Vice-President of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Researcher of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and PhD student advisor, member of the consultative committee for the central government’s implementation of the project of research and construction of Marxism, leader of the appraisal group of Marxism-Leninism and Scientific Socialism Division of the National Social Science Research Fund. His academic expertise is scientific socialism and Deng Xiaoping Theory. Since 1995, he has enjoyed a special allowance awarded by the State Council.
To deeply Study Socialism with Chinese Characteristics regarding the Party's Innovation Theory
As a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences engaged in research on the Party's documents and theories over a long period of time, Leng Rong is a famous research expert on Deng Xiaoping Theory and now works as a member of the Experts Consultation Committee of Marxist Research and Construction Engineering of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China(CCCPC). Through editing and research of such important materials as Deng Xiaoping's life works and around the theory and practice of socialism with Chinese characteristics, he has published many influential theoretical articles on Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Important Thought of the Three Represents, Scientific Outlook on Development and Build a Socialist Harmonious Society advanced at the Sixteenth Congress of the Party. Through which we get a good idea of the path into building socialism with Chinese characteristics, find many profound thoughts of important theories and practices of Chinese realities and also we can feel a pure and fresh style of new materials, clear reasons and simple language. I had a suburb talk with him and had such questions regarding his academic inspirations, views on some spot theories and enlightenment for our youth.
To deeply Study Deng Xiaoping's Theory and unswervingly Follow the Road of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics Initiated by Deng Xiaoping
Wan Jianwu（hereinafter to be referred as Wan）：Professor Leng, as we know from your resume you have engaged in researching the Party's documents' especially in to Deng Xiaoping's documents with great success, where is the starting point for your research once you decide. Could you talk about your research experiences?
Leng Rong（hereinafter to be referred as Leng）：In 1983, I graduated and worked in the Party Literature Research Centre of the CPC Central Committee engaged in research on Deng Xiaoping's thoughts and lifetime. The Party Literature Research Centre of the CPC Central Committee is an important department of the Party Central Committee whose main task is to compile works of the party and state leaders, study their life & thoughts, compile & study contemporary and historical state, army and party documents. Obviously, working in this department is very special and is an important position. As Hu Qiaomu, the original director, said that it was of vital importance to military strategists. I am very lucky to work here and have the chance to have a dialogue about ideas with our main Party leaders, through documents.
I have had contact with plenty of the Party's documents in the Party Literature Research Centre, especially direct contact with first-hand documents about Deng Xiaoping for 21 years. With these special experiences, I can closely study Mr. Deng Xiaoping. I can personally get to know the complicated, vivid and spectacular historical process by studying the Party's documents. In the meanwhile, it has also inspired me to think of many questions. The accumulation of knowledge and theory thought has appeared in my articles. The reason why I can deeply study socialism with Chinese characteristics mainly lies in my work experiences in the Party Literature Research Centre. Systematically grasping first-hand documents is the basis of theory research.
Wan：Comrade Deng Xiaoping is an outstanding representative of the older generation of revolutionaries. And you have studied his thoughts and lifetime for a long time, how do you evaluate his historical merits?
Leng：Comrade Jiang Zemin once evaluated it like this, "Where there is no comrade Deng Xiaoping, there is no today's new life of the Chinese. And there will be no new phase of opening-up & reform and bright prospect of social modernization". Remarkable achievements of opening-up & reform in the past 30 years make us believe scientific Deng Xiaoping's Theory even more and appreciate his initial groundbreaking and foundation contributions from our hearts.
As a giant making great contributions to the Chinese nation in the 20th century, Comrade Deng Xiaoping devoted his life to the Chinese people. He contributed much too various periods of the revolution, construction and reform in China. Especially later in his life, he led the Chinese people to open up a new road of building socialism with Chinese characteristics and he is the chief designer of socialist reform, opening up and the modernization drive in China. Great changes have taken place for China and the Chinese people because of the reform and opening up, which has had an enormous impact all over the world.
Looking at specific situations, we can expound Deng Xiaoping's historical status and contribution from three Historical Processes.
Firstly, we can see from the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is a great historical process linking the past and future. Sun yat-sen ended the autocratic monarchy of one thousand years. Comrade Mao Tsetung established the new country and liberated the nation. Then to realize that modernization is the main goal for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Comrade Deng Xiaoping carried out the unfinished lifework of Comrade Mao Tsetung advocating modernization with Chinese characteristics. He put forward the three-step development strategy and formulated a series of principles and policies for reform & opening-up. After that, modernization development in China accelerated. The dream of modernization by several generations came true. Comrade Deng Xiaoping who has made great historical contributions to the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and our modernization really launched the ship of modernization.
Secondly, we shall see the development process of Marxism and scientific socialism. Marx and Engels uncovered the laws governing the development of human society and founded the theory of scientific socialism. According to this doctrine, Lenin established the first socialist country in the world and comrade Mao Tsetung established socialism in a semi-colonial and semi-feudal oriental nation. Socialism developed vigorously in about a century. But socialism met with unprecedented setbacks from the end of the 1980s to the beginning of the 1990s, some people even claimed that socialism was a complete failure.
It's under such conditions that comrade Deng Xiaoping led the Party to build socialism with Chinese characteristics to withstand heavy pressure and constructed Deng Xiaoping's Theory. Its success proves that socialism has vitality, which is a tremendous encouragement for those progressives pursuing the great ideal of communism and a more fair and rational society. Comrade Deng Xiaoping made historical contributions to Marxism and scientific socialism.
Thirdly, we shall see from the historical process of developing a contemporary human society. Nowadays, world competition is unprecedented. The gap between the North and the South is still widening and developed countries almost occupy all development advantages.
It is very difficult for third-world countries to develop and to solve impoverishment problems as they also become global problems. As we know, the China of the past has a large population with a backward infrastructure environment and complex situations, but this developing country developed rapidly and created a miracle, which was done not by selling natural resources or depredation but by reform & opening-up and peaceful development. This provides a successful experience for third-world countries to adopt. That China, whose population is one-fifth of the world, gets rid of poverty and leads to modernization is a great contribution to the world. Path-breaking and historical contributions of Deng Xiaoping are great for the development of mankind.
Wan: As we know, the greatest historical achievements of comrade Deng Xiaoping is that he established Deng Xiaoping's Theory and opened up the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Would you like to give a brief introduction of this theory and the path?
Leng: The most valuable treasure of Deng Xiaoping is Deng Xiaoping's Theory that is the whole thoughts of building socialism with Chinese characteristics. This theory corrects many misunderstandings about socialism, which changes our many perceptions and approaches. It greatly deepens our understanding of what socialism is and how to build socialism, which raises our understanding of scientific socialism to a new scientific level.
The establishment of Deng Xiaoping's Theory is accompanied with the historical process of the path to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics. It seems like common sense today to lead a path to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, yet it was unprecedented at that time. Marx did not talk about it and there were no current experiences for reference. It would arouse much controversy for each step. Under the leadership of comrade Deng Xiaoping and with the hard-work of the whole Party, from the 3rd session of the 11th meeting of the CCP to his investigation address in the south and the 14th congress of the Party, we made sure to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics after two stages of setting things to rights. These two stages are demarcated by the 12th Congress of the Party, which are separately recorded in volume II and volume III of "Deng Xiaoping Anthology ".
The basic ideas and content of socialism with Chinese characteristics arise from the conclusion of historical experiences during the stage of setting things to right. Socialist construction in China suffered serious setbacks because of the Great Cultural Revolution. Comrade Deng Xiaoping thought that the reason was that we did not make clear what socialism is and how to build socialism. We had class struggle for a long time without developing productivity and carried out closed & ossified policies, which was against the basic principles of Marxism and Maoism. So, comrade Deng Xiaoping called on us all to restore the ideological line of emancipating the mind and being practical and realistic. He began to thoroughly set things to rights, systematically drew conclusions from historical experiences and thought again about how to build socialism. Resolution about Several Problems of Chinese Communist Party Since It Was Founded in the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee issued that there are ten aspects to the correct path for our socialist modernization, including focusing on economic construction, the reform & opening-up, building democratic legal systems & socialist spiritual construction, peace-oriented foreign policies and the Party's building. We can say that this is the initial starting point for the Party to preliminary summarizes the socialist path with Chinese characteristics. Then, his address in the opening of the 12th Congress formally raised the concept of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, which marked emerge of Deng Xiaoping's Theory. Once Deng Xiaoping said, “We finally found a new path to building socialism from the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee to the 12th Congress".
Overall reform began from the 12th Congress and socialist theory with Chinese characteristics were continuously summarized and developed and improved within ten-years of practice from the 13th Congress to the 14th Congress. During that period, comrade Deng Xiaoping and the Party had thought deeply obout such important theories including the primary stage of socialism and its relation between markets and a planned economy. There appeared newer and newer breakthroughs and we got to know more about what socialism is and formed a whole set of policies and theories with rich & excellent content,. The most important part is the Party’s basic line of “One Central Task and Two Focal Points” in the primary stage of socialism, which forms the core and framework of this theory. Socialist theory in the primary stage of socialism and that socialism may also practice a market economy are two breakthroughs of Deng Xiaoping with important theoretical and practical significance in the history of scientific socialism. In 1992, the important address by Deng Xiaoping in the south clarified what on earth is socialism and we had a deep understanding of its essence. Scientific systems of socialist theory with Chinese characteristics were formally confirmed and further probed.
Wan: Suppose we use one sentence to comment on comrade Deng Xiaoping and how do you value it?
Leng: It is not easy to summarize the giant Deng Xiaoping and also I am unqualified. According to my research and experiences, I think Deng Xiaoping deserves to be called a giant and also he has the side of a common person. In a word, he is an ordinary giant. With strong faith, Deng Xiaoping is, far-sighted, open-minded, modest and noble-hearted. He adhered to the principle of keeping the Party spirit and seeking truth from facts. With an optimistic and humorous temper, he was strict with himself and loved his life. These revolutionary spirits and lofty energetic styles are well-experienced, which should be learned by all of us.
Wan: The Third-Generation Leadership of the CPC with Comrade Jiang Zemin at its core ceaselessly advanced socialism with Chinese characteristics by Deng Xiaoping and made many noted achievements. Would you like to talk about the investigation by the Party of how to build socialism with Chinese characteristics?
Leng: We forged ahead following Deng Xiaoping's Theory and continued to draw conclusions and theory innovations from new practices for 13 years after the Fourth Plenary Session of the Thirteenth Central Committee, which is important from 2 points of view. It answered further the question of what is socialism and how to build socialist theories and practices. And also it creatively answered the question of what kind of party should we build and how to build the Party. These investigations in to two aspects deepened our understanding of building socialism with Chinese characteristics and the theory of the Three Represents was established.
It was comrade Deng Xiaoping who raised the question of socialism and our understanding is further deepened after 13-years of experience.
For example, understanding the socialist market economy deepened. Comrade Deng Xiaoping pushed ahead twith the idea hat socialist countries could also have a market economy, which was his great contribution to Marxism. This theory brought about the construction of a socialist market economic system, which was finished by the third generation of the collective leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Jiang Zeming at the core. We have accumulated many successful experiences from practices of building a socialist market economy after the 14th Congress of the Party. For example, we have learned to regulate the economy with monetary means and we succeeded in meeting the Asian financial crisis in the latter half of 1997. This experience improved our capacity to regulate our market economy and our belief.
For example, understanding the socialist ownership and distribution system was deepened. The increasing diversity of our economic sectors after the 14th Congress of the Party brings about two problems. One problem is how to revitalize state-owned enterprises against severe market competition. The other one is how to evaluate the increasing non-public-owned economies and how to lead them to play their roles. These problems were never met before shall be urgently resolved. Therefore, comrade Jiang Zemin and the Party pushed forward and established the basic economic system with the public sector remaining dominant and diverse sectors of the economy developing side by side in the 15th Congress of the Party. They developed and innovated socialist ownership and distribution theories and breakthrough ideological inhibitions over a joint-stock system. These theory innovations are of great significance for us to further develop our socialist causes with Chinese characteristics and breakthrough any ideological inhibitions on that road.
For example, understanding the socialist primary stage and the Party's basic line is deepened. Comrade Jiang Zemin clearly stated, "We must have a clear idea of what socialism is in the primary stage and how to build socialism in the primary stage". He emphasized that the primary stage is long term and arduous. It is necessary for us to unite the lowermost creed and highest program and we shall take actions based on real conditions, especially the heavy decisions, which is of great importance for the Party. On that basis, the Party further expounded the basic line and pushed ahead political, economic and cultural programs in the primary stage.
Comrade Jiang Zemin has made great contribution to the Party's construction with the thought of the New Great Project and many new innovations, which are helpful for the Party to resolve many new problems under new situations and new changes at home or abroad including information, marketization and economic globalization.
For example, with the constant deepening of the reform and opening-up, great changes have taken place and has taken on diverse trends in economic social division, organization forms, employment forms, interest relations and distribution types. The numbers of the new class has rapidly increased. These changes bring about important influences to the Party and also they pose new problems. Those problems of how we correctly view the new class, labor income, blame labor income and whether the pioneers of the new class join the Party or not are a challenge to theories of the Party’s construction, which is another challenge to the theory of socialism. So, theory innovations are urgent to consolidate the class foundation, expand mass bases and improve the Party's social influence. Furthermore, some big or veteran parties, who have ruled for a long term, were relieved of their offices because they did not follow rapid change or keep up with the times and became isolated from the people. Especially the deep thinking of the Fa-lun-Kong Incident brought us a strong sense of urgency, crisis, responsibility and mission to strengthen the Party’s building.
The practical conclusions in two aspects of socialism and the Party’s construction brought about a leap in understanding and then the thought of Three Represents was established. So, we can say that this thought reflects the new understanding of the Party in the past 13 years.
Wan: The 16th Congress of the Party pointed out that the thought of Three Represents reflected new requests for development changes at home and abroad to the Party and our country. Just now, you described the domestic background of the thought of Three Represents, would you like to tell us about the international background?
Leng: In my opinion, the thought of Three Represents was established on the basis of scientific judgment over current international situations. I think the following three trends since the 1990s bring direct influence on the Party’s theory innovations.
As the information revolution wave meets us, new technological revolution oriented with information technologies has left a great impression over various aspect of human society. Comrade Jiang Zemin thought that the biggest inspiration of this technological revolution was that it fully showed that science and technology play a more and more important role in current economic development as a concentrated expression of advanced productive forces. A new scientific discovery may drive an industry, which is of greater significance for a country’s development. Rapid development within a short time for the U.S.A is down to informatization. Whether we grasp this rare opportunity to develop or not depends on our understanding and attention of advanced productive science and technology. Comrade Jiang Zemin expounded much upon this, which was intensively reflected in Discuss on Science and Technology, which was the first work published after he held the post of general secretary of the Party.
The Asian financial crisis in 1997 pushed key problems regarding economic globalization to all countries. It was a great test for parties in power all over the world to correctly understand and cope with challenges from economic globalization. We made careful analysis and drew a conclusion that economic globalization is an objective tread, which brought about deep influences in economic development of every country. We should not stand easy but follow the trend and join in. It is a new development opportunity and also a strict challenge. With a strong sense of emergency, we should strive for better and faster development.
International situations had heralded in great changes after the Cold War from the Kosovo War to the 911 Event and global multi-polarization developed amid twists and turns. The Drastic Change of Socialism in Pre-Soviet Union and Eastern Europe marked the completion of the Cold War and the beginning of multi-polarized times. World economic patterns took on two obvious trends at the turn of this century under interactions between economic globalization and the new technological revolution. International terrorism is growing up and non-traditional security factors increase, which seriously threaten world peace and safety together with traditional security factors. And also, American unilateralism is growing up. The Kosovo War in 1999 was the first time war was declared on a sovereign country since World War II without permission from the United Nations but with the excuse of defending human rights and stopping genocide. The United States brazenly bombed our embassies, which reflected the arrogance of hegemony. After the 911, with the excuse of anti-terrorism, the United States further developed its unilateralism and declared wars on Afghanistan and Iraq. Every major country adjusted its economic and military strategies upon this. Some developing countries are not optimistic about their safety and had a strong sense of anxiety and urgency. In front of what the United States have done and profound changes of international political laws, we shall think more about safety and danger.
Considering the profound changes in our market economy, we can understand the reason why the central party committee emphasizes again and again the need for theory innovations, why we shall march with the times from the height of guiding ideologies and why it is more and more urgent to do that after the 15th Congress of the Party.
Wan: As we know you have issued many theoretical articles about the Important Thought of Three Represents and proclaimed this thought in many provinces and cities twice as a member of the propaganda team. And also you have spoken many times in seminars on the Three Represents for provincial or ministerial leadership cadres. Would you like to talk about the great significance of the Important Thought of Three Represents?
Leng: As a philosophical generalization, the Important Thought of Three Represents raises questions not over specific issues but general rules. Combining Marxist basic principles with contemporary realities in China, it focuses on productivity, advanced culture and the people to expound the standpoint and viewpoint of Marxism and give it new meaning. The Party Must Always Represent the Developing Requirements of the Advanced Productive Forces is the use and presentation of Marxism in dialectic relations between productivity and production relations and between economic foundation and superstructure. The Party Must Always Represent the Orientation of China's Advanced Culture is the use and presentation of Marxism in dialectic relations between material and spiritual life and social existence and social consciousness. The Party Must Always Represent the Basic Interests of the Broad Masses of Chinese People is the use and representation of Marxism that the masses are the power to promote the advances in history. Just as Hu Jintao said, "The Important Thought of Three Represents connects development of advanced productivity, advanced culture, maintaining the basic interests of the masses with the advancement of the Party, which is to promote the Party's character, aims and guiding ideologies to form a complete system. It is the Party's creative application and the new development in dialectical materialism and historical materialism". The meaning of the Important Thought of Three Represents is that it gives a contemporary meaning to Marxism from the height of world ideology and the methodology with Chinese characteristics. It does not give us answers to any specific questions, but it emancipates the mind and sets a solid foundation to enhance our theory innovations in practice. It points out our direction and opens our theory horizons. It has provided a new angle and tool to watch contemporary China and the world and consider the country's future and destiny. It shall be more actual and more powerful to promote the development of socialist causes with Chinese characteristics with this kind of Marxism to guide our practices, the Party's construction and our development causes. The important meaning of Three Represents lies here. To study the Important Thought of Three Represents, we shall first intensively read the original Analects of Jiang Zemind. Second, we shall thoroughly and systematically study and grasp the whole content around the theme of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Thirdly, we shall study and grasp its standpoints, viewpoints and methods with Chinese characteristics to guide our practices. Thus, we can really learn well the Important Thought of Three Represents.
Wan: We have entered into a new stage of constructing a comprehensive and well-off society since the 16th Congress of the Party. With the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics, the Party's theory innovations are constantly developing. We raise such strategic ideologies including Scientific Outlook on Development and Constructing Socialist Harmonious Society. Would you like to summarize this process of theory innovation?
Leng: The central committee of the Party has paid attention to theory innovations since the 16th Congress and has raised a series of important strategic thoughts including Scientific Outlook on Development and Constructing Socialist Harmonious Society, Building Socialist New Countryside, Constructing Innovative Country, Setting Up the Socialist Concept of Honor and Disgrace, Promote the Building of a Harmonious World and Strengthening the Construction of the Party’s Advanced Nature.
How could the Party raise so many new theories within a short space of time? Many new changes have taken place in recent years. Socialism with Chinese characteristics has confronted many new situations and new problems and taken on many new looks different from them in the past, which shows that socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered into a new development stage.
The first time, on February 19th, 2005, comrade Hu Jintao addressed a seminar of provincial or ministerial leading cadres on leadership improvement and of constructing a socialist harmonious society and he said that there were eight new trends and features. Of course, president Hu did not summarize these eight as Stage Characteristics but as New Trends and New Features in the New Stage. Yet, he talked about stage problems of modern development and told a truth after the eight problems. He said, "Development courses in some countries and regions show that economic and social development will enter into a key stage with above $1000 per capita GDP. There are some successful cases were the economy rapidly develops and society smoothly makes progress because of proper measures. There are also failures were the economy wanders and society is in a turbulent state for a long time because of improper measures". He thought that our country had entered into such a kind of stage, in which we have more complex and prominent contradictions and problems in front of us. This was the first time for us to have an understanding of this stage.
The second time, in October of 2005, comrade Hu Jintao addressed the Second Plenary Meeting of the Fifth Plenary Session of the Sixteenth Central Committee of the Party and he precisely and thoroughly expounded the ideologies behind stage characteristics. Combining Scientific Outlook on Development and implementation of the Five-year Development Program, he precisely explained the ten-aspect stage characteristics to developing the comprehensive construction of a well-off society, acceleration of socialist modernization, and economic and social development. The ten-aspect stage characteristics cover all aspects of our country, which had made an overall analysis on our development situations, our achievements and the problems we are facing. This shows that our economic and social development has really entered into a new stage.
The so-called stage characteristics are that we can divide the historical process since the reform and opening-up into three stages according to the Three Step Development Strategy by Deng Xiaoping. The first stage was to solve the problem of food and clothing in the 1980s when Deng Xiaoping’s Theory came into being. There was a stage to generally achieve comparative wealth with different situations, the third generation leading collective with Jiang Zeming at the core led to modernization and establish the Important Thought of Three Represents. Now, it has entered into a stage of realizing well-off social goals since the beginning of the new century. We raised many important strategies including Scientific Outlook on Development. There are different problems, characteristics and different countermeasures at different stages. Theories about the Party are all characteristics of that stage.
Views about the New Century and New Stage were raised before the 16th Congress of the Party. But there was no special interpretation on what the main symbol of the New Century and New Stage was in the past. We had knowledge about the stage of reform and development and had a specific understanding of the new stage after two addresses by comrade Hu Jintao. This theoretical work by comrade Hu Jintao is of great significance, which is the premise and foundation for the Party to make theory innovations. A series of important strategy thoughts raised since the 16th Congress of the Party were just because we consciously grasped and referred to the above stage characteristics. Just as comrade Zeng Qiong hong said in Seeking Truth Journal, “Only by correctly grasping the important stage characteristics of our economic and social development can we really understand the series of important strategy thoughts of Deng Xiaoping’s Theory and the Important Thought of Three Represents as guidance and deeply understand why we are adopting such principles and policies of scientific development, harmonious development and peaceful development.”.
One point for me to emphasize is that the central committee of the Party raised an important viewpoint on the New Historical Start Point while raising the viewpoint of the stage characteristics at the Fifth Plenary Session of the Sixteenth Central Committee of the Party. Papers at the Fifth Plenary Session pointed out that we had implemented the Eleventh Five-year Program after completing the Tenth Five-year Program and we stood at a new historical start point. In January of 2006, comrade Hu Jintao addressed the New Year’s tea party of the CPPCC, “Looking into the future, our country is now standing at a new historical start point.” He addressed again the Shanghai delegation of the NPC and CPPCC, “we shall continuously advance our socialist modernization construction standing at the new historical start point.” I know what is meant by the New Historical Start Point and that is we have raised the new theory of Scientific Outlook on Development and the Eleventh Five-year Program was the first five-year program guided by Scientific Outlook on Development, which is said, not only from the importance of the time because of beginning of the Eleventh Five-year Program, but also from the new understanding of guiding economic and social development with Scientific Outlook on Development.
As we know, the Party raised the theory of Scientific Outlook on Development at the Third Plenary Session of the Sixteenth Central Committee of the Party in 2003 and raised the theory of constructing a socialist harmonious society at the Fourth Plenary Session of the Sixteenth Central Committee of the Party in 2004. Then the Party raised the theory of stage characteristics in 2005 after special consideration, expounding reality and theory basis over a series of theory innovations. The theory of the New Historical Start Point was raised after that. Those theories connect with each other, which reflect our gradual deepening and understanding. And also we can understand how theory innovations of the Party grow step by step.
So, we can summarize the above processes of theory innovations as Four News: New Stage, New Characteristics, New Theory and New Stand Point. That is:
i. Socialist development with Chinese characteristics has entered into a new stage since the beginning of the new century;
ii. The new stage has new characteristics different from the past;
iii. The party has raised a series of new theories including Scientific Outlook on Development according to analysis over the new stage and characteristics;
iv. We are now standing at a new historical point and understanding that stand point to advance our practice and promote our causes.
It is of great significance to understand Four News. We shall further study and understand theory innovations of the Party from understanding Four News.
Wan: Scientific Outlook on Development is an important theory innovation raised under the guidance of Deng Xiaoping’s Theory and the Important Thought of Three Represents on the basis of correctly understanding our basic situation in the primary stage of socialism and grasping the stage characteristics of the current stage, which is the key theory innovation of the Party Central Committee after the 16th Congress of the Party. Would you like to talk about your feelings?
Leng: According to my research on Scientific Outlook on Development, I think it closely connects with a market economy, which is a theory to guide the healthy development of the socialist market economy and a guiding ideology to perfect the socialist market economy.
In my opinion, there are mainly two causes, regarding Scientific Outlook on Development that are concerned with the socialist market economy:
Firstly, we can see from the situation at the time that putting forward Scientific Outlook on Development was inspired by SARS, but there is a deeper background and conclusions of the social market economy because of the amount of documents available for research. Comrade Hu Jintao initially spoke about the concept of Scientific Outlook on Development during his investigations in Jiangxi. He said, “We shall solidly establish Scientific Outlook on Development of harmonious development, overall development and sustainable development, actively explore a new suitable development path and further perfect the socialist market economy system.” Comrade Wen Jiabao also addressed the Five Overall Arrangements connecting with the market economy in Jilin. He said, “With the improvement of the socialist market economy as the goal, we shall unswervingly deepen all reforms and greatly develop the market’s foundational role in resources installation according to the requirements of an overall plan of urban and rural development, of regional development, of the development of an economic society, of the harmonious development of man and nature and of domestic development and opening-up.” Furthermore, comrade Hu Jintao clearly stated the thought of Scientific Outlook on Development connecting with a market economy at the 2nd meeting of the Third Plenary Session whose theme was to formulate and perfect documents regarding the socialist market economy. So, we can say that the inspiration of SARS directly brought about the push for Scientific Outlook on Development, and the deep backgrounds are conclusions of the socialist market economy.
Secondly, we shall understand the reasons for Scientific Outlook on Development. The Party put forward Scientific Outlook on Development to realize Five Overall Arrangements against all imbalances in development. Then how these imbalances in development arise and what is the reason? As we know, there have been imbalances many times since the establishment of the Republic of China, but imbalances this time are different from those of the past. Environmental problems were the earliest seen from the five aspects in Five Overall Arrangements, which appeared in the 1980s and also with the earliest countermeasures. In 1995, the Party put forward Sustainable Development Strategies. The Party raised the strategy for the development of the western regions in 1999 to solve imbalances of regional development. Our country entered into the WTO in 2001, which aroused overall thinking in all fields and inspections of preparations for entering the WTO. Later, foreign trade volumes and foreign exchanges greatly increased. Contradictions between domestic reform and the opening-up were prominent. The gap between urban and rural development and the gap between economic and social development have widened since the late-mid-period of the 1990s, which raised people’s concerns. But our country rarely paid attention to these problems till SARS happend. Comrade Hu Jintao firstly emphasized solving these two problems at the conclusion of the struggle against SARS. At that time, the Party noticed that imbalances were everywhere and we should solve these problems by looking at the whole situation. We can see that imbalances at this time have the obvious characteristics of a market economy, which is different from those of the past. Many imbalances in the past such as the Great Leap Forward in 1958 and Foreign Leap Forward in 1977 all appeared in certain fields caused by the leaders’ subjectivisms under the planned economy, which were top-down and easily solved. Yet, imbalances of this period are gradual, bottom-up and overall, which are difficult to solve. We should say that we found them in a timely manner and put forward countermeasures. The Party put forward the important strategy to promote comprehensive, balanced and sustainable development of the economy and society when comrade Jiang Zemin was in office. Scientific Outlook on Development was put forward from of the pint of view of the whole overall situation and politics, which has gained support from the whole part .But the tasks are arduous and it is not easy to solve all problems.
To find out the reasons for these problems means that we really need to understand the true background and reason for putting forward Scientific Outlook on Development, which is very significant To implement Scientific Outlook on Development is actually a problem of how to develop a healthy and perfect market economic system and also a problem of how to drive the market economy. Only by realizing this can we offer the right countermeasures and find proper solutions. So what we do now is to deeply study the socialist market economy. To implement Scientific Outlook on Development is just the key to solving this problem. The following items are for us to do now:
On the one hand, we shall develop the market economy by means of economic theories. Some developed countries have accumulated rich experience in developing a market economy with main two thoughts: Liberalism and Keynesian. We shall learn from that because our situation, regarding the market economy, is also like this. Firstly, our market economy has not developed maturely, which needs to be further deepened. Secondly, effects of the market economy appear which need to be solved with governmental macro-control. It is more important for us to do this. We shall look at the successful experiences of developing a market economy in some western developed countries; we shall study current economic problems in our country and put forward efficient countermeasures on the basis of our own reality. Of course, we can avoid the detours they have taken. We can also do what they have done and solve what they have solved. This is the advantage of backwardness. Of course, western economics have strong ideological flavor and their solutions to actual problems they met can not completely apply to our country. So we can not be a total copy of them. We must pay attention to that.
On the other hand the greater and more important point is we shall study specific characteristic of the socialist market economy with Chinese characteristics. The biggest specific characteristic is that what we develop the socialist market economy with Chinese characteristics using our political advantages. According to Deng Xiaoping’s words, these advantages can be represented as Four Adherences with two advantages. The first is that it has strong governmental macro-control and the second, which is also the key,, is that the Party is unselfish. Compared with international development, our achievements have proved to be better. Not one developing country is developing better than us. We shall study that more and make better use of our special political advantages.
To achieve the above goal, I suggest that our scholars, especially scholars in economics, shall carefully study a book, consider a matter and study an issue. A book means the book of On Socialist Market Economy by comrade Jiang Zemin. A matter means Four Adherences of advantages of the socialist market economy by comrade Deng Xiaoping, which is incisive and the key point. An issue means the relationship between Scientific Outlook on Development and the market economy.
Wan: The theory of Constructing Socialist Harmonious Society is an important theory innovation since the 16th Congress, which was specially studied by the 6th Plenary Session of the 16th CPC Central Committee. Would you like to talk about the meaning of this theory?
Leng: Ok, in my view, I think we shall understand it better in practice, strategy and theory.
Firstly, this theory is of great practical meaning to solving many prominent problems in development. There are two prominent problems with imbalances in development and highlighted contradictions in the current stage of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Upon seing these two problems, the Party Central committee put forward the important strategies of Scientific Outlook on Development and Constructing Socialist Harmonious Society. To construct a harmonious society, the first thing we shall do is focus on solving the most concerned, direct and real problems of the people and focusing on maintaining the basic benefits of the Chinese masses. People-oriented is its starting point and standpoint. It emphasizes the paying of more attention to people’s lives and maintaining social justice, which is timely and practical. This theory has gained wide support from the people. The Party's prestige increases. People all say that it is large-scaled morale project.
Secondly, the putting forward of this theory reflects in the adjustment and changes of our developmental thinking, which is of great significance. We have established a political line of focusing on economic development and all efforts on construction since the reform and opening-up, which has had remarkable achievements. We have succeeded in solving the problem of food and clothing and reaching a well-off standard of living in the past thirty years. But we shall realize that our country is still in the primary stage of socialism for a long time. On the one hand, our country is not rich. Development in many aspects is backward with strenuous economic construction, so we shall focus on economic construction. On the other hand, the requirement for comprehensive, harmonious and sustainable development was put forward, which shows that the task of socialist construction is more and more heavy. Imbalanced stress on economic construction without the overall development of society does not accord with the Party’s ideas and the masses’ interests. Therefore, we can not continue our economic construction. Now, we have entered into a stage of considering how to develop healthily, change development concepts and help the economy to develop well and quickly. According to the spirit of the sixth plenary session, this development concept focuses on One Adherence and Two Mores. We shall adhere to focusing on economic construction, pay more attention to comprehensive, harmonious and sustainable development and pay more attention to the development of social causes. Now, the general layout of the socialist causes with Chinese characteristics has changed into four main areas of socialist economic construction, political construction, cultural construction and social construction. The putting forward of Scientific Outlook on Development and the Socialist harmonious Society distinctively marks the socialist causes with Chinese characteristics have entered into a new stage.
Thirdly, the putting forward of this theory is a deep understanding of the essence of socialism, which is of great significance in terms of theories. The largest highlight and contribution in theories at the sixth plenary session is that it has made the important judgment that social harmony is the essence of the socialism with Chinese characteristics, which is the basic theory for constructing a socialist harmonious society. Based on basic principles of Marxism, social harmony is the property of scientific socialism. But those classical scholars did not say like this, so this is the innovation of our Party. The understanding of socialism is a gradual historical process in practice. There have been many rich thoughts raised by comrade Lenin to Mao Tsetung. Comrade Deng Xiaoping initially summarized the essence of socialism in the reform and opening-up, which is of great significance. Comrade Jiang Zemin further put forward that the essential requirements are to advance economic development and overall social development, which enriches the thought on the essence of socialism by comrade Deng Xiaoping. According to the realities of the new stage in the new century, the Party, with comrade Hu Jintao as its general secretary, offered a greater judgment on the substantial attributes of socialism, which not only exposes the essence of socialism but also exposes its basic characteristics. It has deepened our understanding of the essence of socialism and made us have a more thorough understanding of scientific socialism, which would have a great influence on advancing the socialist causes with Chinese characteristics.
Wan: Just now, you referred to a people-oriented conclusion of theory innovation since the 16th Congress of the Party by comrade Hu Jintao, then, can you tell me how we can understand the position of people-oriented thought in theory innovation?
Leng: People-oriented thought was put forward as connecting with Scientific Outlook on Development, which is the important content of Scientific Outlook on Development and also the essence and core of Scientific Outlook on Development. At the beginning of the gestation period of Scientific Outlook on Development, there was no People-oriented Thought but the thought of Comprehensive, Harmonious and Sustainable Development and Five Overall Arrangements. But People-oriented Thought was added while formally putting forward Scientific Outlook on Development, which it has now concluded. Scientific Outlook on Development not only solves the problems of how to develop and development approaches, but also problems of why we should develop and for what we develop, which has given it deeper meaning and formed a complete scientific system.
As we know, Scientific Outlook on Development is the core of theory innovation of the Party Central Committee, which is a basic principle to guide overall economic and social development. We can easily understand the position and meaning of the People-oriented Thought because it is the core of Scientific Outlook on Development.
But it can not fully take its important position and meanings among theory innovation only from its connection with Scientific Outlook on Development. Actually, the Party Central Committee has put forward the People-oriented Thought as an independent innovation thought, which we can get from addresses by comrade Hu Jintao while studying the Selected Works of Jiang Zemin. He summarized main theory innovations since the 16th Congress of the Party as eight aspects including People-oriented, Scientific Outlook on Development, Constructing the Socialist Harmonious Society, Constructing Socialist New Countryside, Building an Innovation-orientation Country, Cultivating Socialist Sense of Honor and Dishonor, Promoting and Building Harmonious World and Strengthening the Building of the Party's Advanced Nature. We can see that the People-oriented Thought is put forward as an independent innovation thought in the first place. I think what comrade Hu Jintao presented has deep content after deep thought.
What the Party has emphasized the most since the 16th Congress is the people’s viewpoints and what the Party has cared for the most is the people’s living problems. Comrade Hu Jintao addressed again, “We shall run the Party for the public good and exercise state power for the benefit of the people. We shall exercise power for the people, show concern for the people and bring benefit to the people. We shall realize, maintain and develop the essential benefits for most of the people. We shall really solve the problems the people are most concerned with; the most direct and realistic interest problems.” We are all familiar with these famous words that leave deep impressions. People summarize the fresh features of the Party Central Committee led by general secretary comrade Hu Jintao as cuddly, practical, incorruptible and innovated. The first is cuddly, which is reflected in a series of important policies and measures of the Party Central Committee, cadres’ working styles and theory innovations. All strategic thoughts put forward by the Party Central Committee all take the People-oriented Thought as its starting point and standpoint. As the Party’s philosophy, political and governing idea, it runs through every theory innovation, which we can get from the new explanation of these important theory innovations of the Party by comrade Hu Jintao.
For example, comrade Hu Jintao addressed, while talking about constructing a harmonious society, “We shall adhere to the People-oriented Approach and real efforts must be devoted to developing a harmonious socialist society in China.” We shall adhere to the people-oriented approach and constantly promote social harmony.” The Party defined the people-oriented approach as the chief principle of constructing a socialist harmonious society at the 6th Plenary Session of the 16th CPC Central Committee.
While talking about new countryside construction, comrade Hu Jintao emphasized, “We must adhere to the People-oriented Approach and strive to solve the urgent real problems in farmers’ production and life to benefit the farmers.”
While talking about building an innovation based country, comrade Hu Jintao said, “We must adhere to the people-oriented approach and make use of scientific achievements that benefit the people. It is the basic starting point and standpoint for our development of science and technology. To build an innovation-oriented country is a great cause to benefit the mass of the people, which needs the active participation of the people. ”
While talking about the socialist concept of honor and disgrace, comrade Hu Jintao said, “This theory focuses on improving the people’s qualities, promoting human overall development, strengthening ideological and ethical progress, developing education, science and culture and cultivating a new generation of people with lofty ideals, moral integrity, good education and a strong sense of discipline.” The key point to really establish the socialist concept of honor and disgrace is to depend on the people.
While talking about the Party's advanced construction, comrade Hu Jintao said, “We must adhere to the People-oriented Approach and we shall put the interests of the masses in the primary place, which is the basic requirement to exercise the Important Thought of Three Represents, run the Party for the public good and exercise state power for the benefit of the people.”
So, we can see, the People-oriented Approach not only connects with Scientific Outlook on Development as its core, but also connects with other theory innovations. It is also the core of all theory innovations. Actually, the People-oriented Approach is a concentrated expression of the essential requirements of socialism including the essential goal of serving the people with heart and soul, governing philosophy of running the Party for the public good and exercising state power for the benefit of the people and the all-round development of the people. We shall basically grasp the core of the People-oriented Approach and deeply understand the great significance of the People-oriented Approach to truly understand all theory innovations of the Party Central Committee since the 16th Congress.
To Deepen the Understanding of What Marxism Is from the Development Process of Socialist Theories and Practices with Chinese Characteristics
Wan: Next year is the 30th anniversary of the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee, which is a period for the Party to stride forward and make great progress in socialist construction and also a period for the Party to persevere in emancipating the mind, advance with times and continuously strengthen theory innovations. Reviewing the exploration process of our Socialist construction with Chinese characteristics, would you like to show us what it mainly leaves us?
Leng: The socialist cause with Chinese characteristics pushes ahead after developing for almost 30 years from which we can get many inspirations. I think the following two points are of great significance for us to remember:
Firstly, the greatest enlightenment is that we shall always adhere to the ideological line of proceeding from reality and seeking truth from facts, which are the fundamental guarantees for us to make continuous progress. As experience shows our revolution and construction causes will boom if we adhere to this ideological line and our causes will suffer great setbacks if we disobey the ideological line. The socialist construction with Chinese characteristics is continuously developing and we will meet with many new situations and problems and many contradictions between reality and theory. And how will we do this? The important answer is to adhere to the ideological line of seeking truth from facts. We shall, despite the bondage of individual viewpoints, grasp the essence of socialism & Three Favorables. The socialist construction with Chinese characteristics is developing step by step just like this.
Secondly, we shall always adhere to the socialist road and theory with Chinese characteristics. Today, it is to truly stick to Marxism and scientific socialism to adhere to the socialist road and theory with Chinese characteristics. In my opinion, there are mainly ten remarkable characteristics and basic content of the socialist road and theory with Chinese characteristics. They are: highly paying attention to productive socialism, socialism of the reform & opening-up, socialism of the Four Cardinal Principles, socialism of the primary stage, socialism of market economy, socialism of technology education, socialism of the comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development, people-oriented socialism to continuously improve the people's material and cultural life level, socialism of social harmony, socialism of "One Country, Two Systems" and socialism of peaceful development. The path today is to thoroughly apply scientific outlook on development under the guidance of Deng Xiaoping's Theory and Three Represents. We shall unswervingly march along the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics from this new understanding point, which I think is the most important historical conclusion and the noblest of treasures in the past 30 years of reform and opening-up.
Wan: The continuous development of Marxism fully proves that it is scientific and vital in the practice of socialist revolution and construction. Just as you said, we have never stopped the innovation of the Party’s theories for a minute. Please show us more.
Leng: We can see from the development history of Marxism that socialist theory develops continuously. Should somebody think that it is a deviation and different from the ancient people, we can say that he does not actually adhere to Marxism. But it is just those differences that bring about the development of socialism and Marxism. Lenin, Mao Tsetung and Deng Xiaoping all did this. Then, are there any standards to judge by? Of course there are. Marxism has its fundamentals just as mathematics does and they can not be thrown out. That is its soul, Marxist standpoint, viewpoint and method, which are expounded by revolutionary leaders. The other standard is practice. We can judge whether this theory comes from practice or not and the more we shall see whether it can withstand the test of time from practice or not. Should the practice be successful like the Russian revolution, then the theory would be called Leninism. China's new-democratic revolution was successful and the theory is called Mao Tsetung Thoughts. The reform and opening-up is successful, the theory is called Deng Xiaoping’s Theory, which is a new development stage of Marxism in China. If the practice fails, then it will not be actual Marxism. What was done by Wang Ming, Li De and Bo Gu was wrong, they were not actual Marxists, which is obvious. Yet someone who does understand this thinks that any breakthrough of certain viewpoints over Marxism is a deviation from actual Marxism. This depends on our treatment of Marxism.
Marxism is a scientific theory and we shall treat it scientifically and accurately understand it with Marxist attitudes.
Firstly, we shall unswervingly adhere to Marxism, which is simple because its scientific nature has already been proved through the practices of revolution, construction and reform. It is the ideological foundation for unity and stability of the Party and people. To adhere to Marxism is scientific in theory, rational in history and necessary in current politics. We often talk about it and we shall educate our Party members and cadres, especially our young people in Marxism.
But how do we better adhere to Marxism? We can get answers from our ancestors’ consistent attitude over this, because only developing Marxism is vital. Suppose there was no October Revolution in Russia led by Lenin or Chinese revolution led by Mao Tsetung, the vitality of Marxism would have stopped 100 years ago. The influence of Marxism in the past was huge, which attracted almost all progressives from around the world. And now, it is an objective fact that Marxism is at low ebb. Then what shall we do for Marxism to attract the public, the young people and talents? The key point is to develop Marxism. Great changes have taken place since Marxism came into being over one hundred years ago. It is not persuasive to use certain judgments of that time to explain some realistic problems with great change. Why our influence in the world increases and why we hold Marxism in high esteem? The answer is that we develop Marxism to guide our practice.
In my opinion, the key point of treating Marxism scientifically is to do well when dealing with the dialectic relation between maintaining and developing. We shall do well in the perseverance and meticulousness of Jiang Zemin and the unwavering Hu Jintao, which are ideological lines, ideological methods, political orientation and political principles. To understand this is of great significance for studies of philosophy and other social sciences. We shall firmly set the guiding position of Marxism in studies of philosophy and other social sciences. In the meanwhile, we shall actively bring forth theoretical innovation combining the basic principles of Marxism with the specific situation and features of the times in China.
Wan: Comrade Deng Xiaoping once put forward two what is. The first is what socialism is, which was answered by its essence. The other is what Marxism is, which was not defined from its essence. The correct understanding of the dialectic relations between maintaining and developing Marxism can not do without consideration of what Marxism is. And would you like to talk about your understanding?
Leng: As for the question what on earth Marxism is, classical writers did not give specific answers but they explained it from different aspects.
Friedrich Engels once said, “The whole Marxist world outlook is not dogmatism, but method. It provides us not current creeds but starting points for further research and relevant research methods”. Engels emphasized that Marxism is a method. And also Lenin understood Marxism from this aspect and he thought that concrete analysis of concrete problems is the vivid soul of Marxism.
Mao Tse-tung once defined the essence of Marxism. He wrote one sentence while talking about the guiding issues of the Party from an address in a meeting of the Central Committee of the Party on March 16th, 1943, that is, “The essence of Marxism is concrete analysis of concrete problems”. Therefore, we can see that he thought that the vivid soul of Marxism as said by Lenin is the essence of Marxism.
Comrade Deng Xiaoping said that Lenin understood Marxism from philosophical, logical and communist ideals and figured out revolutionary roads based on realities. Actually, Lenin expounded the four basic elements of Marxism. “Based on Realities” is obvious. “Philosophy” refers to world outlook and methodology. “Logic” refers to development laws of human society. “Communist Ideals” refers to general orientation and goals. It appears that he did not understand Marxism from certain particular points.
Comrade Jiang Zemin also put forward words like this. He said, “We shall advocate to learn more philosophy in ideological construction…We shall make good use of Marxist standpoints, viewpoints and methods to recognize problems combined with some problems in our actual lives. One can have one or another viewpoint in scientific socialism theory, but he shall remember to consider problems with Marxist standpoints, viewpoints and methods. Guiding ideology and scientific methods must be Marxist, which is unchangeable.
From addresses our ancestors and leaders made, we can clearly get to know that they all referred to the most essential things of Marxism but not concrete points to adhere to Marxism. They mainly referred to Marxist standpoints, viewpoints and methods, which is our so-called “world outlook, methodology, general orientation, basic standpoints and basic viewpoints”.
Then, why revolutionary pioneers emphasized understanding of Marxism with these words of Standpoints, Viewpoints, Methods, Soul and essence? We can get it clearly from the history of Marxism. We shall grasp the most basic principles of Marxism to understand and use Marxism. We shall not be constrained by individual conclusions without doctrinarism attitudes. This awareness is drawn not from books but from revolutionary practices. They emphasized this again and again to tell us that all we do shall be based in reality. We shall focus on practices to develop Marxism. We can only adhere to Marxism in development, combining persistence with developing. In essence, we shall adhere to the ideological line of seeking truth from facts integrated in the fundamental tenets of Marxism with reality. I know that is the essence of Marxism.
Wan: ok, professor, your thoughts over these important theories and realities solve our many theory obsessions, which is worthy of our understanding. And the last question which is what our youth care about very much. Would you like to give some advice for learning?
Leng: I think there are three important points for us to remember from my shallow experiences:
Firstly, we shall have a high spiritual realm. I know that all ancients with great achievements in learning all did well from three points, which are making good use of the brain, heart and body. “Making Good Use of Brain” refers to use our wits with handwork, which is the most basic requirement. “Making Good Use of Heart” refers to researching with our hearts. Making good music is better than just listening. One will make great achievements in learning while you fall in love with it. “Making Good Use of Body” refers to devotion with all the heart. One shall take learning as our goal throughout our lifetime to realize our personal value. All those who have great achievements in learning have this spiritual realm, which the youth shall pursue.
Born in 1978, Wan Jianwu is a male, a cadre of the youth division in the party committee of subordinate units of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a Ph.D. student. His research orientation is Deng Xiaoping’s Theory and Scientific Socialism Theory.
(Translated by Zhufuxiaofei)
Editor: Wang Daohang