The Central Conference on United Front Work was held from Friday to Saturday in Beijing. Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, attended and delivered an important speech.
In his remarks, Xi stressed that this year marks the centenary of the CPC’s clear identification of its united front policy. It is imperative that we continue to ensure the patriotic united front develops in the right direction and accurately understand its historic position in the new era.
Xi defined the main tasks of the patriotic united front in the new era as follows: to follow the guidance of the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and uphold the CPC’s leadership; to adhere to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics and hold high the great banner of patriotism and socialism; to balance commonality and diversity, focus on the central task of economic development and serve the overall interests of the country; to advance with the times and innovate on the basis of what has worked in the past; to strengthen theoretical and political guidance, and fulfill the political function of gathering support and pooling strength; to promote harmony between different political parties, ethnic groups, religions, social strata, as well as our compatriots at home and abroad; to promote concerted endeavor of Chinese people at home and abroad and bring together powerful strength for building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects and achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Li Keqiang presided over the conference. Li Zhanshu, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji and Han Zheng attended the conference. Wang Yang delivered concluding remarks.
Xi noted in his speech that the united front, as an important part of the Party’s general line and general policy, has played a significant role in the different historical periods of China’s revolution, construction and reform. Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, the Party has implemented the national rejuvenation strategy within the wider context of once-in-a-century changes taking place in the world, and made comprehensive arrangements for united front work from the strategic perspective of national governance. Thus, we have made historic progress in united front work, with the united front demonstrating greater solidarity and dynamism while forging ahead to open up new horizons.
Xi stressed that we have developed, through practice, important thoughts on advancing the Party’s united front work in the new era and put forward a series of new concepts, ideas and strategies to improve united front work. These mainly include the following twelve aspects: we must give full play to the role of the united front as an important means; we must secure support of the people and pool strength for our cause; we must strike the right balance between commonality and diversity; we must uphold, develop and improve China’s new model of political party system; we must make fostering a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation the main task in the Party’s work related to ethnic affairs; we must develop religions in the Chinese context; we must foster close bonds with non-CPC intellectuals and personages from new social strata; we must facilitate the healthy growth of the non-public sector of the economy and encourage those working in this sector to achieve success; we must exert the role of united front work to win hearts and minds of people in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan as well as overseas Chinese; we must strengthen the ranks of non-CPC representative figures; we must grasp the laws governing united front work; and we must enhance the Party’s overall leadership over united front work.
The important ideas on improving the Party’s united front work in the new era represent a crystallization of the Party’s wisdom in developing the united front over the past century and serve as the fundamental guidelines for united front work in the new era. The whole Party must implement them fully and faithfully, Xi said.
Xi noted that the united front must be maintained for a long time to come as it is an important assurance for the CPC to defeat the enemy, to govern and rejuvenate the country, and to rally all Chinese people both at home and abroad to realize national rejuvenation. Gaining people’s support and an advantage in strength is vital to the success of the cause of the Party and the people, and represents the number one consideration in politics. Great unity and solidarity are what united front work tries to achieve as it is essentially about winning people’s support and pooling strength. To achieve this, it is crucial that we stay committed to the principle of seeking common ground while putting aside differences, carry on the fine tradition of remaining united while staying open to criticism, seek commonality while respecting diversity, and as a result, expand common ground and achieve the greatest possible convergence of interests.
The CPC leadership over all aspects of united front work must be secured. United front affairs are the work of the entire Party, which requires close attention and concerted efforts of all Party members. Efforts must be made to establish a pattern of united front work, with Party committees exercising unified leadership, united front departments being responsible for coordination and other relevant departments performing their respective duties.
Xi stressed that great changes have taken place in terms of the opportunities and circumstances united front work faces as well as the missions and tasks it shoulders. As profound changes unseen in a century are evolving rapidly in the world, the united front plays an even more important role in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests. On our journey to build a modern socialist country in all respects and realize national rejuvenation, the united front plays an even more prominent role in focusing on the central task and serving the country’s overall interests. As the structure of our society is undergoing a profound change, the united front plays an even more important role in bolstering the Party’s class foundation and expanding public support for it. We must thoroughly understand the significance of developing and expanding the patriotic united front in the new era and effectively perform our duties with a strong sense of mission and responsibility.
The united front was created for the purpose of achieving solidarity, on the basis of which it has thrived, said Xi. The historic task of the patriotic united front in the new era is to promote great solidarity of all Chinese people. He said that to fulfill this task, we must balance our efforts to uphold the Party’s leadership and to expand consensus, making tireless efforts to achieve the latter and effectively uniting all the Chinese people from different political parties, ethnic groups, social strata, social groups, with different beliefs and even living under different social systems. We must strike a balance between making obvious achievements and those that are substantial but less obvious, so as to uphold a right perspective on officials’ performance and advance the Party’s united front work steadily into the future. We need to balance principle and flexibility, abiding by principled guidelines and policies while adopting flexible measures and solutions when necessary. While taking a firm political stance and adhering to basic political principles, we should also adopt proper approaches and methods in line with specific cases. We should balance solidarity and struggle, being adept in carrying out struggle and improving our ability in this regard to strive for genuine solidarity that is indestructible.
Xi emphasized that since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the Party Central Committee has attached great importance to united front work from an overall and strategic perspective. A series of significant laws and regulations have been promulgated and several important meetings have been convened, such as the Central Tibet Work Symposium, the Central Xinjiang Work Symposium, the Central Ethnic Affairs Conference, and the National Religious Work Conference. Specific requirements were put forward and comprehensive arrangements made for improving the Party’s work related to ethnic and religious affairs in the new era, and these requirements and arrangements must be fully implemented. Xi noted that we must uphold and improve the CPC-led system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation, calling for efforts to uphold the Party’s leadership, strengthen political guidance and improve systems and mechanisms so as to make such cooperation rule-based, orderly and vibrant in the new era.
We should strengthen united front work on non-CPC intellectuals and personages from new social strata. With the fundamental focus on building consensus and the aim of instilling love for the country and an enterprising spirit, we will encourage them to strive for success in their careers and make the best of their talent by devoting themselves to reform and innovation. We should also promote the healthy development of the private sector and encourage those working in the sector to achieve success. We need to help them to develop firm ideals and convictions and uphold core socialist values, to put into practice the new development philosophy and to nurture an entrepreneurial spirit, so that they become qualified builders of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Efforts should be made to strengthen the ranks of patriots overseas, and help more foreigners understand and become friendly to China, so as to boost exchanges and mutual learning between Chinese and foreign cultures. We should also do a good job in united front work online and practice the mass line through the Internet, Xi said.
Xi noted that to strengthen united front work in the new era, it is crucial to uphold the Party’s leadership, so that the entire Party make concerted efforts and all relevant sectors act in a coordinated manner. Party committees and leading Party members’ groups at all levels must fulfill their principal responsibility for putting united front work high on their agenda. All departments and units should better realize the importance of united front work and join hands to create a powerful synergy. United front work departments should enhance self-development and exert their important roles as advisors, organizers, coordinators and supervisors. Officials of united front work should strive to improve their capacity for political judgment, thinking, and implementation, master the art of work and improve methods of work to establish a good image for their departments and themselves.
Li stressed while presiding over the meeting that Xi’s speech carries great significance. According to Li, Xi hailed the historic contributions united front work has made over the past century and its achievements in the new era, expounded on its new ideas, thoughts and strategies formed since the 18th CPC National Congress, and analyzed its historic position in the new era. Li said that Xi also proposed guiding principles, fundamental tasks, focus of work as well as policies and measures for improving united front work in the new era, which are of political, ideological and theoretical significance.
We should study and digest what Xi said to think and act in line with the guiding principles of his speech. The Party has established Comrade Xi Jinping’s core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole and defined the guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, the significance of which requires our in-depth understanding, Li said. We should continue to strengthen our consciousness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the leadership core, and keep in alignment with the central Party leadership; enhance our confidence in the path, theory, system and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and uphold Xi’s core position on the CPC Central Committee and in the Party as a whole as well as the Central Committee’s authority and its centralized, unified leadership. We need to carry out all our tasks in line with actual conditions, and make unremitting efforts to build China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful, and to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation, Li said.
According to Wang Yang in his concluding remarks, Xi’s speech features great insight and rich connotations, elucidating a series of major theoretical and practical issues of united front work in the new era. Offering historic insight as well as theoretical and practical guidance, Xi’s speech is a programmatic document containing the truth of Marxism.
Wang said that we should take studying and applying the guiding principles of the meeting as an important political task, deeply understand the decisive significance of the establishment of both Comrade Xi Jinping’s core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole and the guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and comprehend General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important thought on united front work in the new era in a complete, accurate and comprehensive manner. Firmly grasping the historic position and key missions of the patriotic united front, we should also revolve around the Party’s central tasks on the new journey in the new era to bring together the strength and will of the people.
Wang called for concrete efforts that live up to people’s expectations and stronger awareness in political orientation, thinking, and action of the need to effectively carry out united front work in the new era. It is imperative to industriously offset our deficiencies, set a good example in shouldering responsibilities, and use our wits to ably perform our duties, in a continued effort to maintain and enhance solidarity, progress, pioneering spirit, and dynamism in the united front. We should reinforce the Party’s leadership over united front work, further improve the working pattern of building a broad united front, and proceed from realities to implement the decisions and plans of the Party Central Committee in a creative manner, in a bid to write a new chapter in the cause of the united front.
Members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, members of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee, relevant leading members of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, state councilors, president of the Supreme People’s Court, procurator-general of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, and relevant leading members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference attended the meeting.
Also present were leading Party and government officials and officials in charge of united front work from all provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), leading officials of Party committees from sub-provincial cities, relevant leading officials from the central Party and government departments, people’s organizations and the Central Military Commission, and leading Party officials from the financial institutions, enterprises and universities under the direct auspices of the central government, and heads of related research institutes. The meeting was held in the form of video teleconference, with venues set up in all provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities and the XPCC.