Deng Xiaoping

Two Features of the Thirteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China


Published: November 16, 1987
Translated by: Unknown
Source: Deng Xiaoping Works
Transcription for MIA: Joonas Laine


The report [of the Twelfth Central Committee] to the Thirteenth National Congress of our Party represents a collective effort, concentrating the wisdom of thousands of people; it is not my work alone. Of course, the report reflects my views, but in the main it embodies collective opinions. I have contributed to the line, principles and policies formulated since the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Party held in 1978, but I was not the only one to do so. Therefore, the accomplishments of the last nine years should not all be attributed to me; I should be considered simply a member of the collective. It is not good to exaggerate the role of any one individual.

One of the features of the Party’s Thirteenth National Congress is that it expounded the theory that China is in the primary stage of socialism. It is in the light of this theory that we shall implement the line, principles and policies formulated since the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee. Another feature is that the congress elected a new leading body that will ensure continued and accelerated implementation for our policies of reform and opening to the outside world. Before the congress, people at home and abroad were concerned that those policies might not be continued. But the congress has addressed that question, reassuring the Chinese people and our international friends.

Nevertheless, ours is an entirely new endeavour, one that was never mentioned by Marx, never undertaken by our predecessors and never attempted by any other socialist country. So there are no precedents for us to learn from. We can only learn from practice, feeling our way as we go. We are trying to turn China into a modern socialist country. Economically, we want to reach the level of the moderately developed countries. It will take another 50 to 60 years, or about 100 years from the time of the founding of the People’s Republic, for us to do that. We shall uphold the Party’s traditions from the best period of the last several decades — hard work and prudent action. But we must recognize that our road is long; we may still run into many difficulties, and it will be hard to avoid mistakes. The important thing is to continually learn from our experience and to make the Party’s activities and the country’s political life more democratic. That will mean that more people’s opinions are heard, especially the opinions of the masses.

(Excerpt from a talk with Takako Doi, Chairman of the Central Executive Committee of the Socialist Party of Japan.)