Deng Xiaoping

Opening Speech At the Twelfth National Congress of the Communist Party of China


Published: September 1, 1982
Translated by: Unknown
Source: Deng Xiaoping Works
Transcription for MIA: Joonas Laine



I now declare open the Twelfth National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

There are three main items on our agenda: (1) to consider the report of the Eleventh Central Committee and decide on the Party’s programme for opening up new prospects in all fields of socialist modernization; (2) to consider and adopt the new Constitution of the Communist Party of China; and (3) in accordance with the provisions of the new Party Constitution, to elect a new Central Committee, a Central Advisory Commission and a Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

When these tasks have been accomplished, our Party will have clearer ideological guidelines for socialist modernization, our efforts to build the Party will conform more closely to the needs of the new historical period, and new cadres will be able to cooperate with old cadres and succeed them in the Party’s highest organs, which will thus provide even more vigorous and militant leadership.

A review of the Party’s history will show this Congress to be one of the most important since our Seventh National Congress.

The Seventh Congress, held in 1945 and presided over by Comrade Mao Zedong, was the most important in the period of democratic revolution after the founding of our Party. The delegates summed up the historically significant experience gained in the course of the twists and turns of that revolution during the preceding quarter of a century, formulated a correct programme and correct tactics and straightened out the wrong ideas inside the Party. They thus achieved a unity of understanding based on Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, and as a result, the Party became more united than ever before. It was the Seventh Congress that laid the foundation for our nationwide victory in the new-democratic revolution.

The Eighth Congress of the Party, held in 1956, analysed the situation after the socialist transformation of private ownership of the means of production had been basically completed and set for the nation the task of all-round socialist construction. Its line was correct. However, because the Party was still inadequately prepared ideologically for all-round socialist construction, that line and the many correct views put forward at the congress were not fully implemented. After the Eighth Congress we achieved many successes in socialist construction, but we also suffered grave setbacks.

The present congress is being held in circumstances vastly different from those prevailing at the time of the Eighth Congress. Just as the quarter century of twists and turns in our democratic revolution before the Seventh Congress taught the Party the laws governing that revolution, so the quarter century of twists and turns in our socialist revolution and construction since the Eighth Congress has taught the Party other profound lessons. Since the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee, the Party has returned to its correct policies in the economic, political, cultural and other fields. In addition, after a study of the new situation and new experience, it has adopted a series of correct new policies. Our Party now has a much deeper understanding of the laws governing China’s socialist construction than it did at the time of the Eighth Congress, and it has become much more experienced, purposeful and determined to implement correct principles. We have every reason to believe that the correct programme that will be decided on at this congress will create a new situation in all fields of socialist modernization and bring prosperity to our Party, our socialist cause, our country and the people of all our nationalities.

In carrying out our modernization programme we must proceed from Chinese realities. Both in revolution and in construction we should also learn from foreign countries and draw on their experience, but mechanical application of foreign experience and copying of foreign models will get us nowhere. We have had many lessons in this respect. We must integrate the universal truth of Marxism with the concrete realities of China, blaze a path of our own and build a socialism with Chinese characteristics — that is the basic conclusion we have reached after reviewing our long history.

China’s affairs should be run according to China’s specific conditions and by the Chinese people themselves. Independence and self-reliance have always been and will always be their basic stand. While the Chinese people value their friendship and cooperation with other countries and other peoples, they value even more their hard-won independence and sovereign rights. No foreign country should expect China to be its vassal or to accept anything that is damaging to China’s own interests. We shall unswervingly follow a policy of opening to the outside world and increase our exchanges with foreign countries on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. At the same time, we shall keep clear heads, firmly resist corruption by decadent ideas from abroad and never permit the bourgeois way of life to spread in our country. We, the Chinese people, have our national self-respect and pride. We deem it the highest honour to love our socialist motherland and contribute our all to her socialist construction. We deem it the deepest disgrace to impair her interests, dignity or honour.

The 1980s will be an important decade in the history of our Party and state. To accelerate socialist modernization, to strive for China’s reunification and particularly for the return of Taiwan to the motherland, and to oppose hegemonism and work to safeguard world peace — these are the three major tasks of our people in this decade. Economic development is at the core of these tasks; it is the basis for the solution of our external and internal problems. For a long time to come, at least for the 18 years till the end of the century, we must devote every effort to the following four undertakings: to restructure the administration and the economy and make our ranks of cadres more revolutionary, younger, better educated and more competent professionally; to build a socialist society that is culturally and ideologically advanced; to combat economic and other crimes that undermine socialism; and to rectify the Party’s style of work and consolidate its organization on the basis of a conscientious study of the new Party Constitution. These will be the most important guarantees that we shall keep to the socialist road and concentrate on modernization.

With 39 million members, ours is now a huge Party playing a leading role in the exercise of state power. However, Communist Party members will always be a minority in the population as a whole. None of the major tasks proposed by the Party can be accomplished without the hard work of the people. Here, on behalf of the Party, I wish to pay high tribute to all the workers, peasants and intellectuals who have worked diligently for socialist modernization and to the People’s Liberation Army — that Great Wall of steel safeguarding the security and socialist construction of our motherland.

China’s democratic parties fought beside our Party in the period of the democratic revolution, and together with us they have advanced and been tested in the socialist period. In the construction work ahead the CPC will continue its long-term cooperation with all patriotic democratic parties and individuals. On our Party’s behalf, I wish to express sincere gratitude to all the democratic parties and to all our friends without party affiliation.

The cause of the CPC has enjoyed the support and assistance of progressive people and friendly countries throughout the world. On behalf of our Party, I wish to express our sincere thanks to them also.

We must do our work carefully and well. We must strengthen our Party’s unity with the people of all ethnic groups in our country and with the people of the rest of the world. We must struggle hard to make China a modern socialist country that is highly democratic and culturally advanced. We must also struggle hard to oppose hegemonism, safeguard world peace and promote human progress.