Development of Socialism Through the Lens Of Covid-19 Response: Theory, Institution-Building and Practice

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Address by Minister Song Tao at the theoretical seminar on development of socialism through the lens of covid-19 response: theory, institution-building and practice

30 September, 2020

Comrade Madhav Kumar Nepal, Central Secretariat Member of the Communist Party of Nepal and former Prime Minister of Nepal,

Comrade Dinesh Gunawardena, leader of the MEP and Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka,

Leaders of left-wing political parties in South Asia,

Experts and scholars,

Comrades and friends,

Welcome to the Theoretical Seminar on Development of Socialism Through the Lens of COVID-19 Response: Theory, Institution-building and Practice co-organised by the International Department of the CPC Central Committee and the 21st Century Marxist Research Association of South Asia.

In the face of the epidemic, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core has put people's safety and health above everything else, and rallied the people around COVID-19 response.

COVID-19 is still raging across the world, posing severe challenges to human health, economic development and international cooperation. Today's seminar focuses on the strength of theory, institution-building and practice of communist parties and left-wing forces in fighting the pandemic. This can strengthen mutual-learning among political parties, enhance regional and international cooperation, contain the global spread of COVID-19, and promote the community with a shared future for mankind. Comrade Nepal just announced the award-wining papers. Based on Marxist ideas, views and approaches, these papers elaborate on COVID-19 response of countries and states with communist ruling parties and the unique strength of socialism in tackling major challenges like the pandemic, which can help us better understand the superiority of socialism. On behalf of the Chinese side, I congratulate all the award winners.

In the face of the epidemic, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core has put people's safety and health above everything else, and rallied the people around COVID-19 response. Thanks to our enormous efforts, we have made a major strategic achievement in fighting the virus, and created a remarkable feat in human's struggle against diseases. The CPC and the Chinese government balance epidemic response with social and economic development. Economic activities are gradually returning to normal. At the COVID-19 awards ceremony convened not long ago, General Secretary Xi Jinping expounded on the strength of the CPC leadership and socialism with Chinese characteristics in epidemic response, as well as the spirit of putting life first, rallying the whole nation, braving danger, respecting science, and safeguarding our shared future. He noted that China will pursue the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, press ahead with international cooperation against the pandemic, and work with the international community to address global challenges.

Comrades and friends,

The world is undergoing changes unseen in a century. Multi-polarity and economic globalisation face headwinds in their way forward. Unilateralism and protectionism are on the rise. Peace deficit, development deficit and governance deficit are more prominent than before. Major crises like the pandemic are propping up. Against this backdrop, we need the mighty weapon of Marxism more than ever to observe, analyse and solve major problems of the world. In light of the once-a-century changes, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core upholds and applies the basic tenets of Marxism, ponders on and explores solutions to major challenges facing China and the world, and makes theoretical innovations. It is on this basis that Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era has been developed. It is Marxism in contemporary China and Marxism in the 21st century. The third volume of Xi Jinping The Governance of China is an compilation of 92 speeches made by General Secretary Xi Jinping from October 2017 to January 2020, and a comprehensive and systemic reflection of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. Here, I wish to share with you some of my observations based on the book and China's COVID-19 response.

First, further localisation of Marxism holds the key to constant victories of Chinese Communists. Karl Marx said, theory becomes a material force as soon as it has gripped the masses. The CPC will celebrate its centenary next year. For the past century, it has overcame one difficulty after another, and secured one victory after another. The Chinese nation has stood up, grown rich and is becoming strong. This is because our Party has mastered the advanced theory of Marxism, applied its basic tenets in China's national context, and developed theories to guide our revolution, development and reform. Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, in light of new conditions and requirements, the Party has developed Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, our latest achievement in adapting Marxism to the national context. It serves as an ideological weapon and guide to action for our Party to advance socialism with Chinese characteristics, undertake struggles with new historical features, and secure major strategic outcome in fighting COVID-19.

Maintaining the advanced nature is the original aspiration and mission of the Chinese Communists. Karl Marx said, proletarian political parties must comprise the most resolute and advanced section. When the epidemic struck, the Party Central Committee immediately called on all Party members to rush to the front line. Chinese Communists have remained true to their original aspirations and played an exemplary role.

Second, the people-centred approach is what we Chinese Communists hold dear. Marx and Engels noted in the Communist Manifesto that the proletarian movement is the independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority, and that the communists have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole. Guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, we uphold the people-centred development approach, work to safeguard and improve people's well-being through development, and practice the mass line in national governance. In the face of the pandemic, our Party has put people and life first and foremost, strived for their safety and health at all cost, mobilised the whole nation and done its outmost in protecting every life, including babies as young as only 30 hours and seniors as old as 100 years, as well as overseas students and foreign nationals in China. This best shows that the Chinese Communists take serving the people wholeheartedly as their fundamental mission. It is also the primary reason why the CPC enjoys the support of the people and remains as a ruling party.

Third, maintaining the advanced nature is the original aspiration and mission of the Chinese Communists. Karl Marx said, proletarian political parties must comprise the most resolute and advanced section. When the epidemic struck, the Party Central Committee immediately called on all Party members to rush to the front line. Chinese Communists have remained true to their original aspirations and played an exemplary role. An addition of 25,000 people joined the CPC during this critical time, and played an important role in the fight. This speaks volumes about the advanced nature and combat capacity of Chinese Communists. The advanced nature of political parties is not an inherent nature, and should be strengthened through constant efforts. Since the 18th National Party Congress, guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, we have strengthened party-building like never before. We have worked to ensure that the Party exercises effective self-supervision and practices strict self-governance in every respect. We take holding dear the Part's ideals, convictions and purposes as the underpinning and take harnessing the whole Party's enthusiasm, initiative and creativity as the focus of efforts. We have made all-round efforts to see the Party's political building enhanced, its theory strengthened, its organisations consolidated, its conduct improved, and its discipline enforced. This has gone a long way to enhance the Party's advanced nature and purity.


Fourth, liberating and improving productivity for a better life of the people is the primary task for Chinese Communists. According to Marxism, productive forces are the material foundation of all social life, and the most dynamic and revolutionary factors in promoting social progress. Socialism is superior to capitalism, as its productive forces develop faster and better than that of capitalism. Since the founding of the People's Republic, especially since reform and opening up, our Part has prioritised economic development. Within a few decades, we have achieved what Western countries took several hundred years to achieve in modernisation. We have caught up with them, and is now playing a leading role in this era. Our vision of innovative, coordinated, green and open development for all aims to address unbalanced and inadequate development and improve the quality and efficiency of development to meet people's increasing need for a better life. This has broken new ground in Marxist political economics, and lays a solid foundation for China to become a strong and modem socialist country. Despite the pandemic, we did not resort to Western-style strong stimulus measures but stayed committed to sustainable development. By balancing epidemic response with resumption of economic activities, we have managed to maintain economic and social stability on the whole. It is under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and with our solid material foundation and national strength that China was able to tide over this challenging time and became the first major economy to resume positive growth. We are now pressing ahead with the task of ensuring stability in six key aspects, completing the six priority tasks, and eradicating extreme poverty. We will foster a dual-cycle development architecture, with the domestic cycle as the mainstay and with domestic and international development reinforcing each other. We will complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects as scheduled to make due contribution to the economic recovery and prosperity of the world.

The superiority of socialism shown in the pandemic gives communists all around the world greater confidence in the prospects of socialism. That said, we have also taken note of the rise of unilateralism and hegemony promoted by certain capitalist countries and the hyping up of a new cold war against communism, which threatens world peace, stability and economic recovery, and undermines the development of socialism.

Fifth, the community with a shared future for mankind is Chinese Communist's practice of the spirit of internationalism. Having foreseen the trend of material and cultural production, the Communist Manifesto calls on proletarians to unite. In today's world, because of the development of the Internet, big data, quantum computing and AI, mankind is interconnected like never before. Reflecting the trend of the times, Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era embodies the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, the Belt and Road Initiative and other important propositions and initiatives, which have become China's blueprint to take a leading role in the progressive undertaking of mankind. Since the outbreak, the CPC and the Chinese government have shared anti-epidemic information and experience with others. We have conducted over 70 exchanges on epidemic prevention and control, assisted 150 countries and 4 international organisations with 283 batches of medical supplies, and exported anti-epidemic supplies to more than 200 countries and regions. China has shown strong support to the World Health Organisation and other international organisations. It was the first to promise to make its vaccine a global public good, a concrete effort to build a global health community for all and a contribution to international cooperation against COVID-19. However, certain countries seek to politicise the pandemic, attach a geographical label to the virus, and stigmatise China out of their own interests. They even go as far as shifting the blame. The international community condemns that. Countries now better appreciate the importance of solidarity and cooperation, and support the global community for all.

Comrades and friends,

Marxism reveals the laws of social progress and the inevitable trend towards communism. This is the theoretical basis and source of confidence for us communists that socialism will prevail. The superiority of socialism shown in the pandemic gives communists all around the world greater confidence in the prospects of socialism. That said, we have also taken note of the rise of unilateralism and hegemony promoted by certain capitalist countries and the hyping up of a new cold war against communism, which threatens world peace, stability and economic recovery, and undermines the development of socialism. The CPC resolutely opposes that. We call on communist parties, left-wing forces and other progressive forces to stand together for global peace and stability, for international fairness and justice, for greater development of socialism, and for a peaceful and stable world free of poverty and of shared prosperity.

Comrades and friends,

With a long-standing history and fine tradition, left-wing forces in South Asia have gone a long way in exploring the socialist path and innovative development of Marxism, greatly contributing to the national liberation movement in South Asia and socialist movement across the world. The CPC is willing to have dialogues and cooperation in all forms with left-wing political parties in South Asia, strengthen theoretical exchanges, enhance mutual learning on party and national governance, and work together to advance 21st century Marxism and socialist undertakings in the region.

The 21st Century Marxist Research Association of South Asia pools together dignitaries of left-wing political parties, experts and scholars in South Asia. It can help left-wing forces in the region strengthen exchanges on both theory and practice, deepen mutual understanding and mutual trust, and facilitate Marxist studies. The Chinese side supports the Association in organising thesis competitions, seminars and other forms of exchanges to promote interactions with left-wing organisations from beyond the region, deepen global cooperation among left-wing forces, and facilitate innovative development of Marxism.

I wish the seminar a full success. I wish the 21st Century Marxist Research Association of South Asia greater development.

Thank you.

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