Liu Qibao's speech at the Symposium on the October Revolution and Socialism with Chinese Characteristics

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Liu Qibao, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, spoke at a symposium held on September 26 in Beijing to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution. The full text of his speech is as follows:

Experts, comrades,

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia, which is a landmark event in the world's history. As Vladimir Lenin said, "the farther that great day recedes from us, the more clearly we see the significance of the proletarian revolution in Russia, and the more deeply we reflect upon the practical experience of our work as a whole." Today, we hold the symposium to further explore the revolution's significance and influence. By absorbing power and wisdoms from the past, we can better uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. Just now, a launch ceremony was held for the revised and expanded version of the second edition of the Collected Works of Lenin. We chose to launch the books before the revolution's anniversary day in order to pay our utmost respect to the revolution. Containing extensive and definitive notes on Marxism and Leninism, the books are the most reliable documents we can refer to when studying the October Revolution. The speeches by the comrades before me at the symposium were very thought-provoking, with insightful views and supported by historical details. Taking this precious chance, I'd like to share with you some of my thoughts.

From hypothesis to science, and from scientific theory to established systems, socialism has evolved for centuries. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels created the materialist conception of history and the theory of surplus value, based on which they developed socialism thoughts. Thanks to their efforts, socialism managed to transform from hypothesis to science, thus was able to offer us scientific theoretical guidance and guide to action for building a communist society that is free of exploitation and oppression. Scientific socialism tells us that capitalism will inevitably give way to socialism, as this is an objective law of social development. Under the guidance of Marxism, worldwide proletarians and working people have done their utmost to build a socialist society. While the Paris Commune made the world's first major attempt at overthrowing capitalist rule and establishing a proletarian power to allow the people to master their own affairs, the first victory in establishing a socialist state was achieved by the October Revolution. When celebrating the October Revolution's fourth anniversary, Lenin said, "This first victory is not yet the final victory… [But] we have made the start. When, at what date and time, and the proletarians of which nation will complete this process is not important. The important thing is that the ice has been broken, the road is open, and the way has been shown." The October Revolution has given profound influence on the development of the human race. Acting as a lighthouse, it has guided the following generations of proletarians towards a new era of glorious revolutions.

The October Revolution turned socialism from an ideal into reality, from theory to practice. Understanding clearly the new characteristics in the development of capitalism in the imperialist age, Vladimir Lenin integrated the basic principles of Marxism with the specific situation facing the Russian Revolution to create Leninism. He creatively put forward a series of theories on the socialist revolution and socialist construction, including the theory that socialism could be first achieved in one country or several countries, offering a powerful ideological weapon for proletarian revolution in the imperialist age. Led by Lenin and the Bolshevik Party, the Russian people were able to convert the bourgeois democratic revolution into a true socialist revolution. Through armed struggle and breaking up the old bourgeois state apparatus, they achieved the earthshaking victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution and established the Soviet system dominated by the dictatorship of the proletariat. As Lenin said, "the Soviet system is a proof or a demonstration of how one revolution could develop into another." Soviet Russia promulgated an instrument of a constitutionalist nature, and established, at the preliminary level, a system of economy, politics, culture and education suffused with a socialistic nature. A socialist state was established for the first time in human history whereby socialism was translated from a theory into an actual social system. Thereafter, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union led the people to give full play to the advantages inherent in the socialist economic, political and cultural system, and launched an unprecedented modern mode of governance previously unknown in world history. Soviet modernization involved many fields, including industry, agriculture, education, science, the social system and daily life, which changed within several decades Russia's century-old poverty, famine and backwardness and developed the country from a small peasant economy into a powerful industrial country through industrialization and agricultural collectivization. During the World War II, the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics relied on its strong national strength to defeat the fascist threat posed by Germany, Italy and Japan, together with its allies, contributing greatly to the victory in the worldwide struggle against Fascism and peace and progress of humankind. The epoch-making historical feat of the October Revolution and the major achievements of the Soviet socialism system cannot be negated by dissolution of the Soviet Union. The reasons behind the Soviet breakup are many, including rigidity and conservatism; yet, the root cause was its turning away from Marxism-Leninism and from the socialist path created by the October Revolution.

The October Revolution ushered in a new epoch in human history. Since primitive society, the evolution of social morphology and change of social system involved the replacement of one exploiting society by another with a new ruling exploiting class. The October Revolution put an end to the system of human exploitation and oppression and overthrew the rule by the exploiting class. A society without exploitation and oppression, and a social system with the people as the masters of the country, were established. People's democracy became a reality. From then on, socialism entered an historical stage as a brand new social morphology and social system, greatly influencing the developmental direction of human society. Under the influence of the October Revolution, socialism became an important choice for many countries to gain national independence, liberation and development. Countries embarked on the socialist road one by one; one-third of world's population once lived under the socialist system, which reinforced the socialist cause and broke the monopoly of capitalism. Socialism became the backbone for safeguarding world peace and development. The victory of the October Revolution, especially Lenin's ideology regarding national liberation of colonial and semi-colonial countries, greatly pushed the awakening of people oppressed by imperialism and colonialism, and the rise of national liberation forces in colonial and semi-colonial countries. It accelerated the worldwide disintegration of the colonial system created by imperialism, and altered the composition of international power and the world structure. Because of the increasingly manifested superiority of the world socialist movement and the socialist system, many capitalist countries had to make constant adjustments in their ruling strategy and seek improvement through the introduction of some measures from the socialist system so as to mitigate the increasingly sharp basic contradictions in the capitalist system.

The October Revolution brought Marxism-Leninism to China. After the First Opium War, China was gradually reduced to a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society and the Chinese nation was plunged into deep suffering. Countless patriots and righteous people in China tested various doctrines and thoughts in order to find the right way to save the country and its people, but all their efforts ended in vain. The success of the October Revolution tremendously shocked and inspired the progressives in China, who were wandering at their wits' end in the dark. The October Revolution ignited a new hope for realizing national independence and people's liberation. Since then, by using the ideals, viewpoints and methods of Marxism-Leninism, they gradually recognized the development trend of the human society, saw clearly the reality that the imperialists were carving up the world and oppressing China, and therefore got a clear understanding of the nature of the Chinese society and the goal of the Chinese revolution. In the end, they finally sought out the fundamental solution to saving the nation in peril – the path of socialism which was opened up by the October Revolution. Comrade Mao Zedong deeply pointed out: "The salvoes of the October Revolution brought us Marxism-Leninism. The October Revolution helped progressives in China, as throughout the world, to adopt the proletarian world outlook as the instrument for studying a nation's destiny and considering anew their own problems. Follow the path of the Russians -- that was their conclusion." Those Chinese progressives, during the process of combining Marxism-Leninism with Chinese workers' movement, established the Communist Party of China (CPC). As a result, the Chinese revolution has since then taken on an entirely new look. Under the strong leadership of the CPC, the Chinese nation indestructibly gathered and united from the state of loose sand, holding steadfastly its own future and destiny. Under the leadership of the CPC, the Chinese people fought heroically for 28 years and secured the victory in the new-democratic revolution, gaining national independence and liberation of the people. Comrade Mao Zedong said: "The people's revolution led by the Communist Party of China has always been a part of the world socialist revolution of the proletariat initiated by the October Revolution." After the founding of the New China, the CPC led the Chinese people to complete the socialist revolution, establish the system of socialism, advance socialist construction, conduct reform and opening up, establish and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, and obtain an achievement that attracts worldwide attention.

Experts, comrades,

A century ago, China was poor and weak, and it was bullied by big powers. Since then, our country has gone through many setbacks and hardships before rising up and achieving glory. The Chinese nation has undergone unprecedented changes — from standing up to prospering and becoming powerful and having established its position amongst nations of the world. Never in history have we been closer to the goal of the great renewal of the Chinese nation, and never in history have we had greater confidence and capability to realize this goal. This tremendous change is attributed to the fact that we have chosen the path of socialism which was opened up by the October Revolution, that the CPC has been leading the people to closely integrating the basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism with the concrete and real situation of the Chinese revolution, construction and reform, paving a broad road for the great renewal of the Chinese nation that suits China's actual conditions. History and reality have incontrovertibly proved that only socialism can save China, only socialism with Chinese characteristics can develop China and realize the great renewal of the Chinese nation.

Today, we commemorate the October Revolution and continue to progress on the path of socialism. The most important task is to keep to and develop the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, strive for the realization of the Two Centenary Goals and the Chinese Dream of the great national renewal, and in turn making more brilliant achievements and brighter prospects for socialism, and making even greater contribution to exploring better development path for humankind.

First, we must unswervingly uphold and develop Marxism. Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, pointed out that on the fundamental issue of upholding the guiding role of Marxism, we must maintain unswerving resolve, never wavering at any time or under any circumstances, and that if we deviate from or abandon Marxism, our Party would lose its soul and direction. Meanwhile, for Marxism to play a guiding role in practice and be enriched and developed in the process, it must be combined with the conditions of each country. The victory of the October Revolution was a brilliant example of Lenin's ingenious use of the basic tenets of Marxism in the Russian revolution. The extraordinary achievements made in China's revolution, development and reform and the solid steps taken on the country's great journey to realize its lofty ideal are also the results of the CPC always adhering to Marxism as a guide to action and continuously localizing Marxism in practice.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping has put forth a series of new visions, thinkings, and strategies for the governance of China in the country's great endeavors to advance reform and opening up and develop socialist modernization. These visions, thinkings and strategies have upheld and developed Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development, and they have also deepened the CPC's understanding of the laws of governance by the Communist Party, the laws of building socialism, and the laws of the development of the human society. In China's historical endeavors to realize its Two Centenary Goals and fulfill national renewal, the most practical and important way of adhering to Marxism is to follow the principles from General Secretary Xi Jinping's major addresses and his new visions, thinkings, and strategies for the governance of China.

There will never be an end to practice and neither will there be an end to practice-based theoretical innovation. In order to engage in the great struggle, pursue the great undertaking, push forward the great cause, and realize the great dream in the new era, we still need to preserve the theoretical character of Marxism to move forward with the times, combine it with the reform and development realities of contemporary China in a deeper way, push for theoretical innovation on the basis of new practices, strive for positive interactions between innovation in theory and innovation in practice, and open new horizons in the localization of Marxism.

Second, we must be firm in strengthening socialist and communist ideals and convictions. General Secretary Xi Jinping said that Chinese communists' faith in Marxism, socialism and communism is their political soul and sustains them through all tests. Over the past 90-plus years, one generation of CPC members after another have shed their blood, laid down their lives, and continued the hard work of those preceding them with unswerving resolve, in order to achieve national independence and prosperity and bring happiness to the people. They have done this because they have faith in Marxism and are determined to fulfill the socialist and communist ideals. Only by standing firm in strengthening the ideals and principles can we refrain from being arrogant and impatient in time of victories and successes, and restrain ourselves from feeling depressed and uncertain in time of setbacks and adversities. Instead, we can remain firm in our pursuit and harden ourselves into steel. When the socialist movement suffered serious setbacks worldwide, Comrade Deng Xiaoping, citing the restorations of monarchies in the historical process of capitalism superseding feudalism, said with full confidence: "Some countries have suffered major setbacks, and socialism appears to have been weakened. But the people have been tempered by the setbacks and have drawn lessons from them, and that will make socialism develop in a healthier direction." Facts have proven that China's huge success is precisely because of its unswerving adherence to socialist and communist ideals and principles and to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, upholding the ideological and intellectual banner, has stressed that the firm ideals and convictions should always be the fundamentals of communists, and should be placed well above all else. Wavering from ideals or lacking in convictions is the most dangerous. Communists should take enough "spiritual calcium" to strengthen their minds so that they can consciously resist corruption by decadent ideas. The CPC Central Committee has also stressed that socialism with Chinese characteristics is socialism and not any other doctrine. The basic principles of scientific socialism cannot be discarded, or it would not be socialism. Our current efforts and the sustained efforts of the future generations are aimed towards the ultimate goal of the realization of communism. The whole Party should have strong political staunchness in ideals and convictions, consciously become firm believers and faithful practitioners of the exalted ideal of communism and the shared ideal of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The socialist system has existed for 100 years since the October Revolution, and socialism has been practiced in China for more than 60 years, though the consolidation and development of the system still has a long way to go. General Secretary Xi Jinping repeatedly stressed that the consolidation and development of the socialist system, and ultimately the realization of communism needs the effort of generations. Building socialism with Chinese characteristics is the historical mission of the CPC. Strong ideals and convictions will serve as the beacon for generations of Chinese people to strive in the course of accomplishing this great mission.

Third, we must unswervingly uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics. General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that socialism with Chinese characteristics does not just fall from the sky, and it was achieved through the toil and sacrifice of the Party and the people. Socialism with Chinese characteristics — which comes from practice, from the people and from the truth — is rooted in the land of China, reflecting the will of the Chinese people and meeting the demand of China's social development and the progress of the times. It is both a great cause we must continue to promote and a fundamental guarantee for a better future. The glorious achievements of socialism with Chinese characteristics unarguably show that destiny is determined by the choice of the path. The path of socialism with Chinese characteristics is more than just achievable, and it has proven to be a smart choice towards a better future.

Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, following the people-first approach, has acted in accordance with the overall plan for promoting all-round socialist economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological development and the Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy. Through the implementation of the new development concept and the great struggle with many new historical features, China has carved out a new ambit of governance and entered a new era in the development of the Party and the country. New successes in building socialism with Chinese characteristics have been achieved and both the Party and the people are more confident in our path, theory, system and culture.

As Lenin pointed out after the victory of the October Revolution, socialism was an unprecedented great cause and the communists had to learn to accomplish their own tasks in a new way that conformed to the reality of Russia. We must always be based on the reality of the primary stage of Chinese socialism, taking economic development as the central task, and upholding the Four Cardinal Principles and the reform and opening-up policy in the great practice of building socialism with Chinese characteristics. We must further improve and develop the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, promote the modernization of the state governance system and capacity in governance, all of which are aimed at continuously accomplishing, safeguarding and developing the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people. We must unswervingly hold high the banner of reform and opening up, and strive to promote innovations in theories, practices, systems and in other aspects of innovation, continue to liberate and develop social productive forces, emancipate and enhance social vitality, make socialism with Chinese characteristics more efficient than capitalism, make it more able to stimulate enthusiasm, initiative and creativity of all the people, more able to achieve social justice and common prosperity, and more able to gain competitive advantages on the international stage.

Socialism is not an illusory system that deviates from the general path of world civilizations, but a crystallization of the outstanding achievements made by human civilizations. To maintain and further develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, we need to learn from all the remarkable achievements of civilizations created by the human society. But to learn does not mean to copy by rote the paths and models of development followed by other countries. Instead, we need to stick to the right directions, steadfastly stay level-headed and stick to our own path.

Fourth, we must adhere to the Party's strong leadership in the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. As General Secretary Xi Jinping said, Party leadership is the most essential feature and greatest advantage of socialism with Chinese characteristics; it is also the fundamental guarantee of the success of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Upholding the leadership by the Party is the foundation and lifeblood of both the Party and the state and affects the interests and well-being of all the people of China. Since the October Revolution, history has proved that without the leadership of the Communist Party, there would be no socialism; only the Communist Party can lead people to carry out socialist revolution, building and reform.

Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, we have improved the Party's methods of leadership and governance, enhanced its capacity to govern in a scientific, democratic and law-based way, strengthened its cohesiveness, capability and leadership, as well as consolidated its core leadership status. Upholding Party leadership requires comprehensively strengthening Party discipline. The Central Committee of the CPC, with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, has focused on strengthening the Party's governance capacity, advanced nature and purity. The CPC Central Committee has made all-around efforts in strengthening the Party theoretically and organizationally, improving its conduct, more vigorously fighting against corruption and improving Party rules and regulations. The Party has also closely integrated its theoretical, organizational and systematic building, carried out strict and concrete Party discipline and management, and took a clear-cut stand to exercise political awareness. The Party has paid serious attention to intra-Party political life, Party rules and regulations – especially political rules and regulations – rectifying the Party working style, fighting against corruption and ensuring the implementation of the main body's responsibility and supervisory responsibility in the work of Party discipline. The Party has hence markedly improved its capacity for self-purity, self-improvement, self-innovation and self-development.

To advance the great cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, we should more resolutely and consciously uphold the core status of General Secretary Xi Jinping in the CPC Central Committee and the entire CPC, safeguard the authority and the central, unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, become more aware of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, uphold the leadership core and keep in alignment. We should more consciously uphold the Party's ideals, direction and will, and ensure the Party to be the core that oversees the big picture and coordinates all quarters.

Fifth, we must unswervingly advance the noble cause of peace and development of humankind. A country's path of development is essentially determined by its nature. Peace and development are the internal requirements and ineluctable choice of socialism. World history in the wake of the October Revolution has demonstrated that socialist countries are an important force in containing world wars and maintaining world peace.

China's commitment to peaceful development has been gradually shaped by arduous exploration and constant practice since the founding of the state, especially since the reform and opening-up. As General Secretary Xi Jinping said, China's choice for peaceful development is by no means expediency or diplomatic rhetoric. It is a determined choice that China has made on the basis of its history, reality and future, as well as a strategic option informed by its national conditions, social systems and cultural traditions. It has been proved that China's choice of peaceful development represents a timely response to today's imperatives and serves the fundamental interests of China, and those of its neighbors and the rest of the world.

Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, China has upheld the banner of peace, development and win-win cooperation. Firmly committed to peaceful development, it has promoted the construction of a new type of international relations with mutual cooperation at the core, actively participated in global governance, and sought to forge a community of a shared future. It has also committed to upholding world peace and promoting common development to bring lasting peace, extensive safety and common prosperity to a world that is open, inclusive, clean and beautiful.

China has been a force for world peace, a contributor to global development and a defender of international order. By playing an increasingly important role in global affairs, it has won extensive praise internationally. With the continued progress of socialism with Chinese characteristics, it will definitely contribute more wisdoms and solutions to peace and the development of mankind, and will work together with people in various countries to build a better world for all.

Experts, comrades,

As the world's largest socialist state, China has made remarkable achievements, and socialism in China has hence been full of vigor and vitality and continues to open new horizons of development. General Secretary Xi Jinping said firmly, "In today's world, if we want to point out which political party, which country and which nation can be confident, the answer must be: the CPC, the People's Republic of China and the Chinese nation have the best reason to stay confident." We will continue to grasp the scientific nature and truth of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Based on that, we should keep confident in the path, theory, system, and culture of Chinese socialism and remain committed to ushering in a new dimension of development for socialism with Chinese characteristics.

History is the best textbook. The past 100 years have witnessed a magnificent journey of the world socialist movement since the victory of the October Revolution, giving us deep insights into upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics. We should conduct research on the history of socialist development, the history of international communist movements as well as contemporary world socialism. We should, from the view of world history, have a profound understanding of the historical status of the October Revolution, and fully realize that socialism with Chinese characteristics has inherited, enriched and developed scientific socialism, and that the Chinese path is consistent with the trend of world progress. We should insist on using dialectical materialism and historical materialism to further research 500 years of history of world socialism, its past 100 years of development since Russia's October Revolution, as well as the history of Chinese socialist revolution, construction and reform. We should more consciously understand the ruling law of the Communist Party, the law of socialist construction and the law of the development of human society, give a scientific interpretation of relevant important problems and major issues, and reveal the directional and fundamental trends and laws during the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics. We should pay attention to following the correct political direction and research orientation, firmly resist historical nihilism and oppose all kinds of erroneous tendencies. We should keep up with the times and constantly make innovations in research content, forms and methods according to the development of the times. We need to promote the Party's ideological and theoretical building with more fruitful research, and make new and even greater contributions to upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Experts, comrades,

Looking back on the past 100 years since the October Revolution, we feel very proud of the outstanding achievements of overcoming obstacles during the building of socialism; looking forward to the great journey in the future, we have full confidence in the good prospects that socialism will enjoy. Let's more closely unite around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, stay true to the mission taken up by the CPC from its very beginning and forge ahead, make unremitting efforts to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and gain the great victory of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and embrace the upcoming 19th National Congress of the CPC with outstanding achievements.

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