1. As a Marxist Party, what do you think is the underlying reason for the CPC to adhere to a people-oriented philosophy? How has that philosophy distinguished the Party from other political parties?
Answer: The specific feature of the Marxist worldview that distinguishes it from other political convictions and ideological beliefs is that it aims to consistently understand, explain, and shape human history from a human-centered vantage point in the service of people’s interests. CPC’s open admiration of a people-oriented philosophy speaks out this built-in feature of Marxism. What is implicit in applied scientific practice of Marxist politics is made explicit in Marxist philosophical theory. This philosophy is rightly qualified by CPC’s theoreticians as a people-centered or people-oriented philosophy. What underlies this qualification can be roughly put as follows: the practical function of Marxist politics is to serve people’s needs and interests, to improve their life standards, to increase the level of people’s welfare, and to establish a material infrastructure that ensures social security, justice, equality, and freedom. There is no other ideology that takes these long-term tasks as seriously as Marxism does. Bourgeois and petty-bourgeois parties look after the interests of minor powerful interest groups, and they attempt to present themselves as if they serve all the people. This is an illusion, and Marxism is the very antidote to this illusion. Therefore, CPC’s emphasis on a people-oriented philosophy is correct and more than welcome.
2. From poverty alleviation to the fight against COVID-19, how do you think the philosophy has been exemplified in the State governance approach of the Party？How has the philosophy helped the CPC tackle major challenges?
Answer: In his 1892 pamphlet “Socialism: Utopian and Scientific”, Engels once said that the “proof of the pudding is in the eating”. By this idiom, Engels meant that regardless of how consistent your words may sound, what matters in the end is your actual deeds. Some people may not have a following of sophisticated scientific theories, but they do know very well what is in their best interest. They know what is good or bad for them by looking at the ultimate outcome of a policy. In China’s case, they look at how CPC tackles the issues of poverty alleviation and the fight against COVID-19. It is obvious that China successfully passed both tests. And this is acknowledged by Chinese and non-Chinese people alike. Moreover, these are two of the greatest accomplishments of the modern world history, and CPC deserves credit for them.
3. How do you perceive the emphasis given by President Xi Jinping on the importance of the people in creating the history and deciding the fate of a nation and a people? What do you think of the weight of the philosophy in the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the new era?
Answer: In my reading, what President Xi Jinping means is this: people create their own history, and in turn, they are shaped by it. Wittingly or otherwise, people inherit their past from the angle of present purposes and future goals. The point, however, is that they see themselves as the subject of history, holding the power to correctly judge the legacies of the past, reevaluate them and draw lessons from them to create a better future. This is indeed the material premise for shaping history and deciding a people’s fate. As a friend of Chinese people, I warmly support this emphasis given by President Xi Jinping. According to the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era, one of the most significant components in Chinese people’s perception of their social reality is the guidance of CPC in historical development and social improvement of the Chinese society on the way for a better future. This vision of the future encompasses a nation-wide solidarity of Chinese people, on one side, and an active contribution to a peaceful international world order, on the other. From a foreigner’s perspective, the visionary epithet “New Era” suggests that China is prepared to face the new challenges of our age and ready to cooperate with other nations. This is to say that CPC acknowledges and embraces its responsibility not only towards Chinese people but also towards the international community. Foreigners such as myself have a great deal to learn, and draw lessons, from the historical experience of Chinese people.
China Daily：“Path to glory”
Party keeps putting people first
LI MIN/CHINA DAILY
CPC strives to ensure no one gets left behind on the path to become a modern, prosperous socialist country
A patchwork of wooden ladders that rose precariously up the steep side of a mountain used to be the only link between Mose Lazuo's village, perched on a 1,400-meter-high cliff, and the world outside. For Mose and the other children living in Atuleer, a village in Zhaojue county, Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture in Sichuan province, navigating the steep cliffs via the ladders was the only way to get to school and then go back home, a trip that was exhausting, often treacherous, and at times fatal.
Mose's family, who have lived in the cliffside village for generations, delayed her attendance in primary school until she was 10, when they believed she was capable of making the trip. Even then her father tied a rope around his waist and hers to ensure her safety.
The lack of convenient access to the outside world also defined the villagers' subsistence living, as most residents would only travel outside once a week to obtain basic necessities and sell crops such as Sichuan peppercorns and walnuts.
In May 2020, Mose and her fellow villagers were relocated from their adobe huts to new apartment complexes at the county seat as part of the nation's efforts to fulfill the pledge to lift all the country's rural poor out of extreme poverty by the end of last year.
The resettlement, which not only shortened the travel time between Mose's home and school to five minutes but also ushered in new job opportunities for the villagers, typifies China's poverty alleviation drive over the past eight years and the dedication of the Communist Party of China to improve people's livelihoods.
Kaan Kangal, an associate professor at the Center for Studies of Marxist Social Theory of Nanjing University, said that the poverty alleviation efforts demonstrate the CPC's adherence to the people-oriented philosophy of Marxism.
The practical function of Marxist politics is to serve people's needs and interests, to improve their living standards, to increase the level of people's welfare and to establish a material infrastructure that ensures social security, justice, equality and freedom.
Serving the people
To many analysts and observers, the campaign, in which the country lifted all its 98.99 million impoverished rural residents out of extreme poverty and removed 832 counties and 128,000 villages from the poverty-stricken list, exemplifies the people-centered philosophy of the Party.
The philosophy, which is the overarching principle for the State governance of the CPC, has been the key to China's successful efforts in attaining economic growth, fighting poverty and containing the COVID-19 pandemic, they said.
As a Marxist party, the CPC has always maintained that the people are the creators of history; they are the fundamental force that determines the Party and the country's future, said Tao Wenzhao, a professor of socialism with Chinese characteristics, democracy and governance at Renmin University of China.
With the Party set to celebrate its 100th founding anniversary on July 1, he said the strongest testimony to the people-centered philosophy of the CPC is the emphasis given by the Party to the less advantaged groups in the society.
The help given to the poor, especially those struggling in abject poverty, is a test of the conscience of the society. China's poverty alleviation drive is the best embodiment of the Party's nature and original aspiration, Tao said.
President Xi Jinping, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, has constantly emphasized a people-centered approach in his governance philosophy.
The aspirations of the people to live a better life are the focus of our efforts, he said on Nov 15, 2012, the day he was elected general secretary of the CPC Central Committee.
Acting to realize those aspirations, China has carried out a raft of initiatives to improve people's livelihoods over the past eight years. Meanwhile, securing a complete victory in the fight against abject poverty has also seen the expansion of the middle-income group from about 100 million people in 2010 to over 400 million in 2020, out of a total population of more than 1.4 billion.
In 2020, the per capita disposable income of Chinese residents increased to 32,189 yuan ($5,000) from 18,311 yuan in the last quarter of 2012, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
Aid and rescue workers help local residents trapped by severe floods in Guzhen, a town in Anhui province, on July 20, 2020. SHI JIAMIN/FOR CHINA DAILY
Showing care and concern
The CPC has enshrined its purpose of wholeheartedly serving the people in the Party's Constitution, which stipulates that the CPC has no special interests other than representing the interests of the people.
The biggest political advantage the Party has is its close ties with the people while the biggest potential danger it faces as a governing party is becoming distanced from them, the CPC's Constitution states.
In the report he delivered to the 19th National Congress of the CPC, Xi said that the Party must ensure the principal status of the people and adhere to the Party's commitment to serving the public good and exercising power in the interests of the people.
We must observe the Party's fundamental purpose of wholeheartedly serving the people and put into practice the Party's mass line in all aspects of governance, he said.
Xi made fulfilling the Party's poverty alleviation pledge a top priority, and he chaired seven symposiums on poverty reduction and made over 50 inspection trips to poor areas, including all of the country's 14 contiguous poverty-stricken areas to stress the importance of the work.
He called upon officials to worry about the people, love the people and think frequently about bringing benefits to the people, saying that they should implement measures that are more targeted, more extensive in coverage and generated more immediate outcomes.
Highlighting this, when the difficult living environment and material deprivation of the residents of Atuleer caught the attention of Xi, after it was reported by media outlets, he voiced his concern for the villagers and how distressing it was that they had to rely on the rattan ladders during a discussion with the deputies from Sichuan in March 2017 during the annual session of the 12th National People's Congress, the top legislature, in Beijing.
Xi visited Zhaojue county in February 2018, where he spoke with Yi ethnic villagers and highlighted the importance of ensuring that no ethnic group, family or individual will be left behind as the nation builds itself into a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
Robert Kuhn, chairman of the Kuhn Foundation and winner of the China Reform Friendship Medal, said Xi has set an example that leaders and officials can follow in acting on a people-centered philosophy.
Almost everywhere Xi goes, he stresses poverty alleviation and encourages Party officials to visit impoverished areas regularly and interact with poor people directly, he said.
Going forward, Kuhn said the people-centered philosophy of the CPC can be seen in the rural vitalization strategy, which seeks to reduce the imbalances between urban and rural areas and ensure rural residents enjoy a high quality of life.
Winning people's trust
In the eyes of analysts, China's fight against COVID-19 has also embodied the Party's people-oriented governance philosophy.
It is because the Party put life and people front and center, and took the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough prevention and control measures that China became the first country to largely bring the situation under control and achieve the resumption of work and production, said Tao Wenzhao, the Renmin University of China professor.
China has offered free medical treatment to COVID-19 patients and made it a top priority to improve the cure rate and reduce the fatality rate of patients.
From infants who had only been born 30 hours to centenarians, from international students to expats in China, every life was given full protection and care. The value of each person's life and their dignity were offered meticulous care during the process, Xi said in a grand gathering that commended the role models in the country's fight against the virus in September.
Robert Griffiths, general secretary of the Communist Party of Britain, said that having the trust of the people and the involvement of the people was undoubtedly the key to China's successful efforts to control the novel coronavirus. I would say it was the closeness of the Chinese Communist Party to the people, that was the kernel of the experience of China and its people, he said, adding that this feature of the Party stands out throughout its history.
The CPC's close links with the people mean it has gained the trust and support of the grassroots, which enables the whole of the country to respond to and successfully overcome huge challenges like the COVID-19 epidemic and poverty, Griffiths observed.
The CPC is a party that emerged from the people, was created by the people, and it's always sought to stay close to the people, he said.
Fruit farmers load hybrid oranges onto a delivery vehicle in Shimian county, Sichuan province, in March. The local government worked with China Poverty Alleviation Foundation to promote marketing and branding of the fruit. LIU MENGQI/XINHUA
Confidence in the future
With China on course to deliver its target of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, analysts said the future focus of the Party's people-oriented strategy will shift toward shared prosperity.
Xi outlined a two-stage development plan for the period from 2020 to the middle of this century in his report to the 19th CPC National Congress. He said that the first stage, between 2020 and 2035, would be the period in which rights of the people to participate and to develop as equals are adequately protected, with people leading more comfortable lives, and the size of the middle-income group growing considerably.
To lead the people to a better life is our Party's abiding goal. We must put the people's interests above all else, see that the gains of reform and development benefit all our people in a fair way and strive to achieve shared prosperity for everyone, he said.
Tao, the professor, said to attain shared prosperity is the most difficult aspect of the Party's long-range goal to 2035.
It (the work to ensure common prosperity) would be the most telling aspect of the nature of the Party and our society, he said, adding that China is still a developing nation, and it is still faced with issues of inadequate and unbalanced development.
As the nation pursues growth, it must give more priority to equality and ensure that substantial progress is achieved in sharing the country's prosperity, he added.
The Party's poverty alleviation drive has already fundamentally reshaped the lives of Mose Lazuo and her fellow villagers, and it has given them greater confidence in the future.
Mose said she is hoping that she will further her studies to become a schoolteacher in the near future, and her mother has taken advantage of the influx of tourists to run a guest house.
As long as the road is connected, the future will be full of opportunities, she said.