Full text of Xi Jinping’s speech at memorial meeting for Comrade Jiang Zemin

Comrades and friends!

Today, we hold the grand memorial meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing to mourn our beloved Comrade Jiang Zemin with deep feeling of grief.

At this moment, the people in Party and government organs, enterprises and institutions, villages, schools, armed forces, and urban neighborhoods across the country, the staff with Chinese embassies and consulates as well as institutions stationed abroad, compatriots in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), the Macao SAR, and Taiwan region, as well as overseas Chinese, are together with us to cherish the memories of Comrade Jiang’s great achievements and outstanding qualities, and to express our grief.

The whole Party, the entire military and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups are in profound grief for the loss of such a great man as Comrade Jiang Zemin. People and leaders from all over the world and international friends in various fields have also expressed their heartfelt condolences.

Comrade Jiang was an outstanding leader enjoying high prestige acknowledged by the whole Party, the entire military and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups, a great Marxist, a great proletarian revolutionary, statesman, military strategist and diplomat, a long-tested communist fighter, and an outstanding leader of the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. He was the core of the Party’s third generation of central collective leadership and the principal founder of the Theory of Three Represents.

We hold Comrade Jiang in high esteem and cherish the memories of him, because he devoted his whole life and energy to the Chinese people, he fought all his life for the national independence, the liberation of the people, and the realization of national prosperity and the people’s wellbeing.

In particular, the great achievements made by the Party and the country in the 13 years after the fourth plenary session of the 13th CPC Central Committee in 1989 are inseparable from the great talent and vision as well as superb political leadership Comrade Jiang displayed, and the key role he played. Comrade Jiang made immortal feats for the Party and the people, which has won him the heartfelt love of the whole Party, the entire military and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups, and wide acclaim from the international community.

Comrades and friends!

Ever since his adolescent years, Comrade Jiang committed himself to seek the truth and took an active part in the people’s revolutionary movements. A native of Yangzhou City, Jiangsu Province, he was born in the family of a patriotic intellectual in August 1926, and was enlightened by patriotism and ideas of democratic revolution from a young age. He participated in the patriotic and progressive student movements led by underground CPC organizations in the winter of 1943, joined the Party in April 1946, and since then devoted his whole life to the Party and the people.

After the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Comrade Jiang worked in enterprises, scientific research institutions, and state ministries and commissions. In every post, he fulfilled his duty and worked hard, dedicated his life to the socialist revolution and construction, and did a lot of pioneering work in reform and opening up. He was elected member of the CPC Central Committee at the 12th CPC National Congress.

After 1985, Comrade Jiang served as mayor of Shanghai, deputy secretary and then secretary of the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee. He led the formulation of the economic development and urban construction plans of Shanghai, put forward the development policy of building Shanghai into an open, multi-functional and highly civilized modern socialist city with rational industrial structure and advanced science and technology by the end of the 20th century. He emphasized building Pudong into an international, pivotal and modern world-class new urban district. He also actively promoted the institutional arrangements to address the people’s practical concerns, and made outstanding contributions to breaking new ground in Shanghai’s reform, opening up and socialist modernization. He was elected member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee at the first plenary session of the 13th CPC Central Committee.

In the late spring and early summer of 1989, a severe political disturbance took place in China. Comrade Jiang upheld and implemented the CPC Central Committee’s correct decision on taking a clear stand against the turmoil, defending China’s socialist state power and safeguarding the fundamental interests of the people, and effectively maintained the stability of Shanghai by relying on the solid support of Party members, officials and residents.

Comrades and friends!

In June 1989, Comrade Jiang was elected member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and general secretary of the CPC Central Committee at the fourth plenary session of the 13th CPC Central Committee. In November 1989, it was decided at the fifth plenary session of the 13th CPC Central Committee that Jiang served as chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the CPC, and the Party’s third generation of central collective leadership with Comrade Jiang at its core was established as a result.

Comrade Jiang assumed the main leadership positions of the Party and the military when our country was facing serious external pressure and internal difficulties, and his appointment can be described as being at a critical time. Comrade Jiang had said firmly: “For the cause of the Party and the people, I would dedicate myself to my work and spare no effort until my last day.”

Between the late 1980s and the early 1990s, severe political disturbances erupted in the international arena and in China. The development of socialism in the world experienced serious twists and turns. Some Western countries imposed so-called sanctions on China, and the development of China’s socialist cause faced unprecedented difficulties and pressures. At this historic juncture critical to the future and destiny of the Party and the state, Comrade Jiang led the central collective leadership of the CPC, firmly relying on the whole Party, the entire military and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups, in making achievements in the following areas: unswervingly taking economic development as the central task, unequivocally upholding the Four Cardinal Principles, adhering to reform and opening-up, resolutely working on rectifications for better governance, comprehensively strengthening ideological work, carried out in-depth Party building and the fight against corruption, strengthening the ties between the Party and the people, and actively waging diplomatic struggle, resolutely safeguarding national independence, dignity, security and stability. All these safeguarded the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. As a result, the situation for the reform and development was stabilized and a solid foundation laid for China’s development.

During the 13 years between the fourth plenary session of the 13th CPC Central Committee and the 16th CPC National Congress, China’s reform, opening-up and socialist modernization drive unfolded with great momentum amid a highly volatile international situation. In a complex environment both abroad and at home, Comrade Jiang led the central collective leadership in holding high the great banners of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory, unswervingly adhering to the Party’s basic line and uniting the Party and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics.

He put forward the basic policy of seizing opportunities to deepen reform, further open up, promote development and maintain stability. He expounded on the 12 major relationships that should properly handled in the development of socialist modernization, which deepened our understanding of the laws that underlies socialist modernization. Stressing the importance of never letting opportunities to slip through our fingers, blazing new trails rather than following the beaten track, he led the Party in formulating and implementing a series of guidelines, policies and major strategies to promote reform, development and stability.

He led the establishment of the basic program of the Party for the primary stage of socialism, which provided strong guidance for upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Comrade Jiang led us in defining building a socialist market economy as an objective of reform and set a basic framework in this regard, led the establishment of a basic economic system for the primary stage of socialism under which public ownership is the mainstay and diverse forms of ownership develop together, as well as an income distribution system under which distribution according to work is the mainstay while multiple forms of distribution exist alongside, and led us in forging ahead with reforms in the economic, political and cultural systems and other fields.

Jiang had forward-looking strategic thinking on building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and realizing the third-step strategic objectives for the modernization drive, noting that in the first two decades of the 21st century, efforts should be concentrated on fully building a moderately prosperous society of a higher standard for the benefit of more than 1 billion people.

He stressed that prosperity provided a nation with a greater say in international arena while backwardness made it vulnerable to attack, and it was imperative for the Party to give top priority to development for governing and rejuvenating the country, focusing wholeheartedly on developing the economy.

He proposed to insist on the combination of “bringing in investment” and “going global” to promote reform and development by opening up. He led China in joining the World Trade Organization, which helped setting a new stage for opening up. 

He led us in developing socialist democracy, implementing the basic strategy of law-based governance, developing advanced socialist culture, realizing the smooth return of Hong Kong and Macao, pushing for the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to reach the 1992 Consensus, which embodies the one-China principle, and vigorously carrying out the major struggles against secession and “Taiwan independence”.

He remained committed to gain insights into the general trend of the world situation with a global vision, put forward a series of ideas on diplomatic and international strategies, actively promoted the building of a multipolar world, pushed for greater democracy in international relations, respected the diversity of the world, promoted the establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and led us in breaking new ground on China’s diplomatic front.

He noted that a good job of governing the Party is a prerequisite to a good job of governing the country, and the Party must be governed as strictly as possible. He underscored the commitment to theoretical study, political integrity and rectitude, and proposed to advance the great new project of Party building. He stressed the need to solve the two historical issues of improving the Party’s leadership and governance and reinforcing its ability to resist corruption and ward off risks. He stressed the need to unswervingly improve the Party conduct, build integrity and combat corruption, and always maintain the vigor and vitality, dashing spirit and integrity of communists, and thus ensure the Party’s purity and advanced nature.

He led us in correctly handling the relationship between reform, development and stability, making impressive and new progress in material, political and cultural-ethical advancement and the Party building, and successfully advancing the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics into the 21st century.

Comrade Jiang, with a thorough understanding of the trend of the world’s new military transformation, presided over the formulation of the military strategic policy for the new period and emphasized the need to advance military transformation with Chinese characteristics, unswervingly follow a distinctive Chinese approach of having fewer but better troops, make the people’s armed forces more revolutionary, modern and standardized.

Jiang once said: “To put it in a nutshell, the issue I have focused my attention on over the years is whether our army can fight to win while never degrade in character.”

He stressed that the Party’s absolute leadership over the military must be unswervingly upheld, and emphasized that the troops must be qualified politically, competent militarily, and have good conduct, strict discipline, and strong logistical support. They must preserve the nature and the character of the military as the people’s armed forces, make winning local wars in the information age the focal point in preparation for military struggle and accelerate the development of national defense as well as weaponry and equipment.

He also made the strategic decision that the military, armed police forces and judicial, procuratorial and public security organs must be stopped from engaging in business activities. Under his leadership and efforts, great achievements had been made in modernizing China’s national defense and military.

Committed to emancipation of mind, seeking truth from facts, advancing with the times and respecting the practice and the people, Comrade Jiang put forward a series of new ideas, viewpoints and judgments on building socialism with Chinese characteristics, and made outstanding contributions to upholding and developing the Party’s basic theory, line, program and the accumulation of experience.

In particular, by pooling the wisdom of the whole Party, he formulated the Theory of Three Represents, which further answers the questions of what socialism is and how to build it, and creatively addresses what kind of Party to build and how to build it. The theory has deepened our understanding of rules to advance the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics and strengthen Party building under the new conditions. With new ideas, viewpoints and judgments, it serves as a continuation, enrichment and development of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory.

In the 13 years since the fourth plenary session of the 13th CPC Central Committee, Comrade Jiang led us in calmly dealing with a series of international emergencies concerning China’s sovereignty and security, overcoming difficulties and risks cropping up in the political and economic spheres and those brought by natural disasters, in particular successfully coping with the impact of the 1997 Asian financial crisis and winning a victory in the disaster relief efforts during the heavy floods in 1998, as a result, navigating China’s reform, opening-up and socialist modernization in the right direction. 

Comrade Jiang attached great importance to the major strategic issues that were vital to the cause of the Party and the people. When preparing for the 16th CPC National Congress, Jiang proposed that he would no longer serve in the leading posts of the Party and that he would retire from the CPC Central Committee to facilitate the leadership transition of the Party and the state. The CPC Central Committee accepted his proposal. In 2004, he offered to retire from his posts as chairman of the CMC of the CPC and chairman of the CMC of the PRC, fully displaying his great foresight for the development of the cause of the Party and the state.

After retiring from leadership posts, Comrade Jiang firmly upheld and support the work of the CPC Central Committee. He cared for the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and resolutely supported the efforts to improve Party conduct and combat corruption. In 2006, Jiang was personally in charge of compiling and finalizing the first, second and third volumes of “Selected Works of Jiang Zemin.” The works are a major textbook that people can use to learn and advance the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the great new project of Party building.

Comrade Jiang developed a distinctive revolutionary spirit and demeanor in the long period of revolutionary practices. He was far-sighted, and could make correct assessments of different situations. He always observed and reflected on issues by taking into consideration the general development trends of China and the world, as well as the overall work of the Party and the state, continuously advancing theoretical innovation and innovation in other fields. Jiang was firm in his convictions and decisive in actions. He always put the Party and the people first, and unswervingly adhered to the ideals and beliefs of communists. At critical moments, Jiang had the great courage to make resolute decisions and theoretical innovation. Jiang valued practice and kept pace with the times. He always grasped the trends and opportunities of the times, summing up experience and seeking new ways based on the vibrant practice of the Party and the people, thus advancing the work of the Party and the state in a down-to-earth yet enterprising manner. Jiang respected and cared for the people, always paying close attention to their security and well-being, and assessing and advancing work based on the fundamental interests of the greatest possible majority of the Chinese people. His revolutionary spirit and demeanor will forever be remembered, and will educate and motivate us to stride forward.

Jiang’s death is an inestimable loss to the CPC, the Chinese military and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups. The CPC Central Committee calls on the whole Party, the entire military and the people of all ethnic groups to turn grief into strength, carry forward Jiang’s legacy and express grief with concrete actions, and continue to write new chapters in the development of the cause of the Party and the state on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Marxism is the fundamental guiding ideology, on which our Party and country are founded and thrive. The most valuable asset that Comrade Jiang has left us is the Theory of Three Represents. “I raised this theory after a long period of reflection,” he said. “The Theory of Three Represents did not come out of thin air, but out of our constant exploration and pioneering in theory and practice over the past 13 years.” The Theory of Three Represents is the guiding principle that the Party must uphold for a long time to come. On our new journey, we must continue to adapt the basic tenets of Marxism to China’s specific realities and fine traditional culture. We must proceed from reality in all matters, and constantly respond to the questions posed by China, by the world, by the people and by the times, so as to maintain the vigor and vitality of Marxism.

The leadership of the CPC offers a fundamental guarantee for the Party and the people to overcome all obstacles in pursuit of the socialist cause. Comrade Jiang once said from the bottom of his heart: “As a veteran CPC member, I sincerely hope that all of us in the Party, especially those in the central leadership, put the Party first and consciously uphold and safeguard the Party leadership in all fields of work. This is where the hope of the Party and the country lies.” On the new journey, we must always keep sober-minded and determined. We must strengthen the Four Consciousnesses, reinforce the Four-Sphere Confidence, and ensure the Two Upholds. We must carry forward the great founding spirit of the Party, stay true to our founding mission, have the courage to advance self-reform, to ensure that the Party always serves as the strong leadership core in the course of upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.

The path of socialism with Chinese characteristics will allow China to catch up with the times in great strides and play a leading role. In his speech at the ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the founding of the CPC in 2001, Comrade Jiang stressed that the 80-year practice had taught us that we must unswervingly adhere to our own path, which was the most essential experience we had obtained in summing up our Party’s history. On the new journey, we must follow the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, stick to the Party’s basic theory, line and policy, stay confident and build strength, uphold fundamental principles and break new ground, stride forward on the correct path we have chosen to advance national rejuvenation through a Chinese path to modernization.

The people are the fundamental force that determines the future of the Party and the country. Comrade Jiang remained loyal to the people and kept the people in mind. He called for a people-oriented approach and stressed several times that “The interests of the overwhelming majority of the people are the vital and most decisive factor. This is a fundamental viewpoint of Marxism,” urging us to always strive to realize, safeguard, and advance the fundamental interests of the people. On the new journey, we must put the people first, serve the people wholeheartedly, further implement the people-centered philosophy of development, develop whole-process people’s democracy, maintain a close bond with the people, breathe the same air as the people, share the same future and stay truly connected to them, to make more notable and substantive progress in promoting the people’s well-rounded development and prosperity for all.

Reform and opening up is a key move that has determined the future and destiny of contemporary China. Comrade Jiang emphasized: “We should promote institutional, scientific, cultural innovation and innovation in other aspects through theoretical innovation, explore ways to advance in practice, and never become complacent or slack off, and this is the way to govern the Party and the country for a long time to come.” On the new journey, we must accurately identify changes, adeptly respond to them, and work to steer them in our favor. We must implement the new development philosophy, create a new development pattern, promote high-quality development, and comprehensively advance reform and opening up. We must continue to improve the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, advance the modernization of China’s system and capacity for governance, so as to gain the edge, seize the initiative and embrace the future.

China cannot develop in isolation from the rest of the world, nor can the world achieve prosperity without China. Comrade Jiang stressed that we must adjust ourselves to the historical trends, promote the establishment of a fair and reasonable new international political and economic order, strive for a long-term peaceful international environment, safeguard China’s national security and interests in an all-round way, and continue to make new and greater contributions to the lofty cause of peace and development for mankind. On the new journey, we must bear in mind the interest of the world, hold high the banner of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit, and advocate the common values of mankind. We must promote high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative, advance the building of a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind, and move forward hand in hand with all progressive forces in the world.

Having the courage to fight and the fortitude to win is what has made our Party and the Chinese people invincible. Comrade Jiang stressed: “Our Party is leading the people in the great struggle to build socialist modernization, we will inevitably encounter many complicated circumstances, and severe situations at home and abroad, and confrontations and struggles between different social systems and ideologies are often a test for every Party member.” “We must be heroic enough to overwhelm all enemies” and “one cannot bow his or her noble head.” On the new journey, we must race against the time and strive for success, uphold a fighting spirit to rise to difficulties. We must grasp the historical initiative, foster a firmer sense of purpose, fortitude, and self-belief in the whole Party and among the Chinese people of all ethnic groups so that we are not swayed by fallacies, deterred by intimidation and cowed by pressure, and thus dig deep to overcome all difficulties and challenges on the road ahead.

Comrades and friends!

Comrade Jiang Zemin has parted from us forever. But his name and reputation, deeds of merit, thoughts, and outstanding qualities will go down in history and remain immortal in the hearts of the people for generations to come. The whole Party, the military and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups must unite more closely around the Party Central Committee, forge ahead with enterprise and fortitude, and strive in unity to build a modern socialist country in all respects and advance the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts.

Eternal glory to Comrade Jiang Zemin!

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