Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, speaks during a conference to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, May 4, 2018. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)
Two centuries on, despite huge and profound changes in human society, the name of Karl Marx is still respected all over the world and his theory still shines with the brilliant light of truth, Chinese President Xi Jinping said here Friday.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks at a grand gathering to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Marx's birth.
The gathering, Xi said, is a tribute to the "greatest thinker" of history and shows "our firm belief" in the scientific truth of Marxism.
Inside the Great Hall of the People, a giant portrait of Marx was hung, flanked by two rows of red flags, facing about 3,000 participants.
On the opposite side, a banner reads "Rally closely around the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, uphold and develop Marxism and strive for the great success of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era!"
Senior leaders including Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Zhao Leji, Han Zheng, and Wang Qishan were present. Wang Huning presided over the gathering.
It capped a series of celebrations, held in recent weeks by both the government and the public, young and old, online and offline, to commemorate Marx.
Two days ago, Xi visited Peking University where the story of Marxism in China began.
The People's Daily hailed Marxism's crucial role in China's modernization in an editorial. "While the world has come to a 'crossroad', China is unfazed... Marxism is key to China's stability and development," it said.
"In the new era, Chinese Communists still need to learn from Marx," Xi told Friday's gathering. "Let the wonderful pictures of human society envisioned by Marx and Friedrich Engels keep rolling out in the land of China."
Xi said Marx is the "teacher of revolution for the proletariat and working people all over the world, the main founder of Marxism, creator of Marxist parties, a pathfinder for international communism and the greatest thinker of modern times."
"Today, we hold this grand gathering with great veneration to mark the 200th anniversary of Marx's birth, to remember his great character and historic deeds and to review his noble spirit and brilliant thoughts," Xi said.
With noble ideals and no fear of difficulty or adversity, throughout his life, Marx devoted himself to perseveringly striving for the liberation of humanity, scaling the peak of thought in his pursuit of truth, and the unremitting fight to overturn the old world and establish a new one, according to Xi.
Marx is not only a great figure who bore the weight of the world, but also an ordinary person with passion for life, who was sincere and true to friendship.
Xi said the most valuable and influential spiritual asset that Marx left us is the scientific theory named after him -- Marxism. Like a spectacular sunrise, the theory illuminated the path of humanity's exploration of the rule of history, and humanity's search for their own liberation.
"The thought and theory of Marx are of his times and go beyond his times," Xi said. "They are the essence of the spirit of that times and the essence of the spirit of all humanity."
Xi said Marxism is a scientific theory that reveals the rule of human society development in a creative manner.
Having developed the materialist conception of history and surplus value theory, Marx showed how humanity would leap from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom and the road for the people to realize freedom and liberation, Xi said.
Marxism, the first ideology for the liberation of the people themselves, is a theory of the people.
"Marxism, for the first time, explored the path for humanity's freedom and liberation from the stance of the people, and pointed out the direction, with scientific theory, toward an ideal society with no oppression or exploitation, where every person would enjoy equality and freedom," Xi said.
Stressing that practicality is a prominent characteristic of Marxism that makes it different from other theories, Xi said Marxism is a theory of practices that directs the people to change the world.
It is an open theory that is constantly developing and always stands at the frontier of the times, Xi said. "That is why it is always able to keep young, explore the new issues in the development of times and respond to the new challenges for human society."
The general secretary said that over the 170 years since the publication of The Communist Manifesto, Marxism had been spread around the world, unrivaled in the history of human ideology in terms of the breadth and depth of its influence.
After the end of World War II, a large number of socialist countries were established, Xi said, stressing that the founding of the People's Republic of China, especially, has greatly increased the socialist strength in the world.
"There might be setbacks in the development of socialism in the world, but the overall trend for human society development has never changed, and it will never change," Xi said.
"Marxism has not only profoundly changed the world, but also China," Xi said.
The reverberations of the October Revolution in Russia brought Marxism-Leninism to China, pointing out the direction forward, offering a brand new choice for the Chinese people in their struggle to survive, and setting the scene for the birth of the CPC.
Since the CPC's birth, it has combined the fundamental principles of Marxism with the reality of Chinese revolution and construction, transforming the Chinese nation from "the sick man of East Asia" to one who has stood up, by uniting and leading the people through long-term struggle.
"This tremendous transformation serves as cast iron proof that only through socialism can we save China," Xi said.
Since reform and opening up, the CPC has combined the fundamental principles of Marxism with the reality of China's reform and opening up, and the nation who stood up has grown rich.
"This tremendous transformation serves as cast iron proof that only through socialism with Chinese characteristics can we develop China," Xi said.
In the new era, the CPC again combined the fundamental principles of Marxism with the reality of China, uniting and leading the people in "undertaking the great struggle, building the great project, advancing the great cause and realizing the great dream."
The Chinese nation has come to embrace a tremendous transformation, as the one who has grown rich now is becoming strong.
"This tremendous transformation serves as cast iron proof that only by adhering to and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics can we realize national rejuvenation," Xi said.
"It is perfectly right for history and the people to choose Marxism, as well as for the CPC to write Marxism on its own flag, to adhere to the principle of combining the fundamental principles of Marxism with China's reality, and continuously adapt Marxism to the Chinese context and the times."
STUDY MARXISM IN NEW ERA
In the new era, Chinese Communists still need to learn from Marx, study and practice Marxism to keep the great ship of national rejuvenation sailing in the right direction, Xi said.
"Learning from Marx, we must study and practice his thoughts on the rules of societal evolution," he said, adding that Marx revealed the inevitability of Communism.
"We must grasp the worldview and methodology of dialectical materialism and historical materialism," Xi said, calling for lifelong hard work for Communism.
Xi said that standing with the people was fundamental. "We must make it our fundamental mission to strive for people's wellbeing and our fundamental purpose to serve the people with all our heart," he said.
Freeing and developing the productive forces is essential to socialism, and an issue Chinese Communists have been exploring and addressing generation by generation.
"We must be brave enough to deepen reform in all areas and do more to boost the vitality of productive forces by adjusting the relations of production," Xi said.
He said that the thought on the people's democracy in Marxism must be studied and put to practice. State organs must transform themselves from the society's masters to public servants and be supervised by the people, he said.
"We must unwaveringly keep to the path of socialist political advancement with Chinese characteristics," Xi said.
China will advance socialist democracy under the organic unity of Party leadership, the running of the country by the people, and law-based governance, and continue to strengthen the institutional guarantee to ensure the people run the country and the people's democracy be more effectively practiced, he said.
"We must base our work in China, embrace modernization, the world, and the future, consolidate Marxism as our guiding ideology, develop advanced socialist culture and improve socialist ethical standards," Xi said. "We must imbue core socialist values in all areas of social development and promote the creative evolution and development of fine traditional Chinese culture."
He stressed that development should be people-centered, focus on the most pressing, most immediate issues that concern the people the most, and continue to ensure and improve the people's wellbeing, promote social fairness and justice, and ensure people's access to childcare, education, employment, medical services, elderly care, housing, and social assistance at a higher level, so as to constantly promote well-rounded human development.
"We must learn and practice Marxist thought on the relationship between humanity and nature," said Xi.
Stressing that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets, Xi urged mobilization of all social forces to advance an ecological civilization and jointly build the Beautiful China.
Xi called for learning and practicing the thought on world history in Marxism.
He spoke of the need for peaceful development, for remaining firm in pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace, and pursuing a mutually beneficial strategy of opening up, constantly expand cooperation with other countries, vigorously participate in global governance, and realize win-win cooperation and common development in more fields and at a higher level.
China neither depends on others, nor does it pillage, said Xi, vowing to work together with other countries to build a community with a shared future for humanity and a better world.
He spoke of the need to study and practice Marxist party building.
"We should take full charge of our great struggle, great project, great cause, and great dream. We should strengthen our consciousness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the leadership core, and keep in alignment. We should work ceaselessly to ensure full and strict governance over the Party," he said.
Xi pledged to build the Party into a vibrant Marxist governing party that is always at the forefront of the times, enjoys the wholehearted support of the people, has the courage to reform itself, and is able to withstand any test.
Today, the tasks of reform, development and stability are unprecedentedly arduous. Contradictions, risks and challenges are as multifarious as never before, and the test of governance is greater than ever, Xi said.
"We must keep increasing our ability to use Marxism to analyze and solve practical problems, and use scientific theories to guide our work to tackle major challenges, risks, obstructions, contradictions and problems. We must think about and handle major development problems with broader vision and greater far-sightedness," he said.
Society has seen radical changes in the 170 years since the publication of the Communist Manifesto. However, general principles expounded by Marxism, on the whole, remain totally correct, Xi said.
Xi urged all Party members, especially officials at all levels, to study Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, the Scientific Outlook on Development, and the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, in a more purposeful and painstaking manner.
"There is no sole, unchangeable pattern for socialism," Xi said, adding that to turn the blueprint into reality, it is necessary to integrate the basic principles of scientific socialism with the country's reality, history and culture, as well as the call of the day.
It is the sacred duty of Chinese Communists to constantly develop Marxism, Xi said.
"We should open new horizons for Marxism in contemporary China and in the 21st century," Xi said.
The gathering ended with rhythms of "L'Internationale".