Chinese Socialism - Primary Stage of Socialism

Primary Stage of Socialism

The concept of a primary stage of socialism was conceived before China introduced economic reforms. When discussing the necessity of commodity relations at the 1st Zhengzhou Conference Mao Zedong—the Chairman of the CPC's Central Committee—said that China was in the "initial stage of socialism" Mao never elaborated on the idea; his successors were left to do this. On 5 May 1978, the article "Putting into Effect the Socialist Principle of Distribution According to Work", elaborated on the idea that China was still at the first stage of reaching pure communism and that it had not become a truly socialist society. It is said that the article was written on the orders of Deng Xiaoping, so as to "criticize and repudiate" the beliefs of the communist left. The term reappeared at the 6th plenum of the 11th Central Committee on 27 June 1981 in the document, "Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of our Party since the Founding of the PRC". Hu Yaobang, the CPC's General Secretary, used the term in his report to the 12th CPC National Congress on 1 September 1982. It was not until the "Resolution Concerning the Guiding Principle in Building Socialist Spiritual Civilization" at the 6th plenum of the 12th Central Committee that the term was used in the defense of the economic reforms which were being introduced.

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At the 13th CPC National Congress, acting CPC General Secretary Zhao Ziyang, on behalf of the 12th Central Committee, delivered the report "Advance Along the Road of Socialism with Chinese characteristics". He wrote that China was a socialist society, but that socialism in China was in its primary stage; a Chinese peculiarity which was due to the undeveloped state of the country's means of production. During this phase of development, Zhao recommended introducing a planned commodity economy on the basis of public ownership. The main failure of the communist right, according to Zhao, was that they failed to acknowledge that China could reach socialism by bypassing capitalism. The main failure of the communist left was that they held the "utopian position" that China could bypass the primary stage of socialism, in which the productive forces are to be modernized. On 25 October 1987, Zhao further expounded on the concept of the primary stage of socialism, and said that the Party line was to follow "One Center, Two Basic Points"; the central focus of the Chinese state was economic development, but that this should occur simultaneously through centralized political control (i.e., the Four Cardinal Principles) and upholding the policy of reform and opening up.

CPC General Secretary Jiang Zemin further elaborated on the concept ten years later; first during a speech to the Central Party School on 29 May 1997 and again in his report to the 15th CPC National Congress on 12 September 1997. According to Jiang, the 3rd plenum of the 11th Central Committee correctly analyzed and formulated a scientifically correct program for the problems facing China and socialism. In Jiang's words, the primary stage of socialism was an "undeveloped stage". The fundamental task of socialism is to develop the productive forces, therefore the main aim during the primary stage should be the further development of the national productive forces. The primary contradiction in Chinese society during the primary stage of socialism is "the growing material and cultural needs of the people and the backwardness of production". This contradiction will remain until China has completed the process of primary stage of socialism, and because of it, economic development should remain the CPC's main focus during this stage.

Jiang elaborated on three points to develop the primary stage of socialism. The first—to develop a socialist economy with Chinese characteristics—meant developing the economy by emancipating and modernizing the forces of production while developing a market economy. The second—building socialist politics with Chinese characteristics—meant "managing state affairs according to the law", developing socialist democracy under the CPC and making the "people the masters of the country". The third point—building socialist culture with Chinese characteristics—meant turning Marxism into the guide to train the people so as to give them "high ideals, moral integrity, a good education, and a strong sense of discipline, and developing a national scientific, and popular socialist culture geared to the needs of modernization, of the world, and of the future."

When asked how long the primary stage of socialism would last, Zhao replied, "t will be at least 100 years ... socialist modernization will have been in the main accomplished." The state constitution states that "China will be in the primary stage of socialism for a long time to come". As with Zhao, Jiang believed that it would take at least 100 years to reach a more advanced stage.

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Famous quotes containing the words socialism, primary and/or stage:

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    I must ... warn my readers that my attacks are directed against themselves, not against my stage figures.
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