Chinese ambassador Hong Xiaoyong on CPC’s centenary: Towards a brighter future

On 1 July, a ceremony was held at Tiananmen Square in Beijing commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China. Chinese ambassador to Singapore Hong Xiaoyong shares his thoughts on the key tenets the party has abided by to bring the country this far, and how it will steer the country’s relations with other countries in the years to come.
Participants wave national and party flags as balloons are released at the end of the event marking the 100th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China, at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, 1 July 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)
Participants wave national and party flags as balloons are released at the end of the event marking the 100th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China, at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, 1 July 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

1 July 2021 marked the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The national celebrations culminated in a climactic grand ceremony in Beijing on the big day. From an aerial view, Tiananmen Square looked like a great ship, which symbolises the way China is riding the waves, setting sail valiantly towards the bright future of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

Over 150 heads of state and government leaders, as well as over 600 political parties and organisations, have sent some 1,500 congratulatory messages on the CPC’s 100th anniversary, with generous praise for its enormous achievements in leading China. Singapore’s People’s Action Party (PAP) secretary general Lee Hsien Loong also sent a congratulatory message to CPC Central Committee general secretary Xi Jinping, noting that the CPC has steered China to overcome many domestic and external challenges, and led China onto the path of peace and prosperity. In addition, China has made momentous progress in its development, raising the standard of living for an unprecedented number of people. He also wrote a few words of greeting in Chinese at the end of the message: “祝贺中国共产党百年华诞 (Congratulations to the CPC on its 100th anniversary)." Deputy Government Whip and PAP Women’s Wing vice-chairperson Sim Ann, as well as former Foreign Minister George Yeo and people from various sectors in Singapore — including Chinese citizens working in Singapore — have also sent congratulations and messages for the occasion.

At the ceremony on 1 July, Xi gave a keynote speech looking back on the CPC’s struggles over the past 100 years and looking forward to China’s bright future. Not only was it an account of the CPC’s glorious century, but a declaration of its commitment to continued efforts.

A choir performs at a ceremony marking the 100th founding anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party at Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China, 1 July 2021. (CNS)
A choir performs at a ceremony marking the 100th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China at Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China, 1 July 2021. (CNS)

Looking at the past century, staying true to its mission, confidence, and determination constituted the ethics and beliefs of generations of the CPC members as they persevered and turned adversity into success.

Remembering first principles

First, staying true to its mission of working for the people. Xi said: “Since the very day of its founding, the party has made seeking happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation its aspiration and mission.” The party has led the people in socialist revolution and development, as well as reform and opening up, in bringing forth socialist modernisation. All this is done for the interests of the people, so that they may have better lives. 

In the new era, the CPC is working towards realising the people’s aspirations for a better life. Over the past 100 years, China has gone from living in hunger to a moderately affluent society in all respects, from being closed off and backward to being open and advanced, from being poor and weak to being prosperous and strong. All the struggle, sacrifice, and creation through which the party has united and led the Chinese people over the past hundred years has been tied together by one ultimate theme — bringing about the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

Faith in socialism with Chinese characteristics; faith in the people

Next, having an unshakeable confidence and utmost faith in the people. Xi said before: “I am full of confidence in China’s future development. Why? The most fundamental reason is that after long exploration, we have found the right path that meets China’s developmental needs.” This path is socialism with Chinese characteristics, which has allowed China to make great strides in catching up with the times, covering in decades the same ground that took Western developed countries centuries to cover. 

The party’s fundamental purpose of wholeheartedly serving the people will never fade away. It will always remain united in flesh and blood with the people to strive towards the realisation of the second centenary goal. 

Youths take a selfie at Tiananmen Square on 3 July 2021, a few days after China celebrated the centenary of the Chinese Communist Party on 1 July 2021, in Beijing, China. (CNS)
Youths take a selfie at Tiananmen Square on 3 July 2021, a few days after China celebrated the centenary of the Communist Party of China on 1 July 2021, in Beijing, China. (CNS)

China’s per capita GDP is over US$10,000, with a total GDP of more than 100 trillion RMB. It has been contributing as much as 30% of global economic growth for several years. There has been a complete victory in the fight against absolute poverty, with 98.99 million people lifted out of poverty by current standards, fulfilling the solemn promise to achieve a moderately affluent society in all respects. 

This confidence stems from the embrace and support of the people, who form the strongest foundation for the CPC’s governance. The people’s embrace and support is the constant source of energy for the CPC’s winning progress. Every step forward for reform and opening up and socialism embodies the wisdom and sweat of the people. China was the first to bring the Covid-19 pandemic under control, thanks to the contributions and sacrifices of the people, while the success in poverty alleviation is thanks to the people’s creative energy. A survey by the Harvard Kennedy School showed that support for the CPC among the Chinese people went up from 86% in 2003 to 93% in 2016.

‘Fighting to earn and keep the people’s support'

Lastly, to have rock-solid determination and to rely on the people to make new history. In the words of Xi: “This country is its people; the people are the country. As we have fought to establish and consolidate our leadership over the country, we have in fact been fighting to earn and keep the people’s support.” After a hundred years of struggle, the Chinese nation has become a moderately affluent country in all aspects and brought about a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty. It has also made a great leap from standing up to growing prosperous and becoming strong. Its progress has shown the world that the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has become an irreversible path of history. The party’s fundamental purpose of wholeheartedly serving the people will never fade away. It will always remain united in flesh and blood with the people to strive towards the realisation of the second centenary goal. 

People walk on a street in front of a screen marking the 100th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China, in Shanghai, China, 15 June 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)
People walk on a street in front of a screen marking the 100th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China, in Shanghai, China, 15 June 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

As the country embarks on a new journey to fully build a modern socialist country, China will continue on its own path and neither export a Chinese model of development nor import foreign models. As Xi has pointed out, China welcomes “helpful suggestions and constructive criticism” but rejects “sanctimonious preaching from those who feel they have the right to lecture us”. He added that China will “make sure the destiny of China’s development and progress remains firmly in our own hands”.

Forging win-win relationships with other countries

China will remain committed to the path of peaceful development and adopt a mutually beneficial and win-win opening up strategy. It will firmly develop friendly relationships with countries around the world on the foundation of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and promote the building of a new type of international relations, as well as a human community with a shared future. China’s development is beneficial to the peace, stability, and prosperity of the world, and the country will also offer more opportunities for the world through its own development.

Amid celebrations for the CPC’s 100th anniversary, some people in the Western world intensified their criticisms and demonisation of the CPC. According to a Pew Research Center survey of 17 advanced economies released in advance of the CPC’s anniversary on 30 June, unfavourable impressions of China are on the rise. Some Western media followed up with reports hyping up the survey findings. Such behaviour ignores not only the mammoth changes that China has undergone but the fact that the Chinese people’s sense of happiness, fulfilment, and security have unprecedentedly improved. It also reeks of ideological prejudice. This survey is not representative of the world at all. The Chinese people are experiencing the best period of development in 5,000 years. Some Western politicians have tried to divide the party from the Chinese people or set the people against the party, but their attempts will not succeed. As Xi proclaimed at Tiananmen Square: “The more than 95 million party members and the more than 1.4 billion Chinese people will never allow such a scenario to come to pass.” 

China is willing to work together with Singapore to jointly build a high quality Belt and Road Initiative, strengthen strategic communication, deepen pragmatic cooperation, and jointly safeguard multilateralism and the globalisation process...

Chinese President Xi Jinping at Beijing's Tiananmen Square to speak at a ceremony marking the centenary of the Chinese Community Party, 1 July 2021. (CNS)
Chinese President Xi Jinping at a ceremony marking the 100th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China at Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China, 1 July 2021. (CNS)

China and Singapore

China and Singapore are all-round cooperative partners progressing with the times. The China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park, Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city, China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity, China-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City, and the Singapore-China (Shenzhen) Smart City Initiative have all reaped good economic and social benefits and promote the innovation of cooperation models and governance concepts. Chinese President Xi Jinping maintains phone calls and correspondence with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, which provides important strategic guidance for the development of China-Singapore relations amid the pandemic. 

Both sides have worked to overcome the challenges of the pandemic, looked out for each other, and also become closer. The development of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor amid such trying times is also becoming a new bright spot in China-Singapore cooperation. Facing the arduous task of economic recovery and development after the pandemic and profound changes in the external environment, both China and Singapore have set a course of high-quality development, and continue to actively push for globalisation and to maintain a favourable environment for an interconnected world. 

Under the new circumstances, there is a greater need for a close alignment of development strategies between China and Singapore, and to work together for the future. China is willing to work together with Singapore to jointly build a high quality Belt and Road Initiative, strengthen strategic communication, deepen pragmatic cooperation, and jointly safeguard multilateralism and the globalisation process, so as to send a positive signal to the world that it is committed to promoting peaceful development and common prosperity. 

Related: Former Singapore FM George Yeo on CCP’s centenary: The Chinese revolution continues | Rise of China's CCP and demise of USSR's CPSU: A tale of two communist parties | More Chinese youths proud to be associated with the CCP | China's new-found confidence to hit back at the West | China is now 'a moderately affluent society'? | Chinese ambassador Hong Xiaoyong: New journey for China’s development; new opportunities for China-Singapore cooperation