On 1st July, Macau Post Daily, an English language newspaper in Macau, published its exclusive interview with Commissioner Liu Xianfa. The full transcript is as follows:
1. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC). How do you explain the CPC’s remarkable endurance, adaptability and success over such a long period?
Founded 100 years ago, the CPC now is the largest party in the world with more than 91 million members and 4.6 million grassroots party organizations. From 1921 to 1949, the CPC led the Chinese People to topple the corrupt KMT reactionaries, and establish the People’s Republic of China. With the CPC as its ruling party for 72 years, China has created two miracles that are rarely seen in the world, namely, fast economic development and long-term social stability, marking the CPC the most successful party in the world in the past 100 years. The key to the CPC’s success has mainly three elements.
First, the Constitution of the CPC says that the CPC has no special interests of its own apart from the interests of the working class and the broadest masses of the people. Since its foundation, the CPC has established the purpose of “serving the people wholeheartedly”. In a multiparty country, political parties usually represent the interests of particular groups. Their primary goal is to win the elections and take office. They only mobilize the masses for the election, but when they take office, they only care about the interests of particular groups and ignore those of the masses. CPC members are communists, patriots and internationalists, all at the same time. They are revolutionists guided by ideals. Their original aspiration and mission is to seek happiness for the people, rejuvenation for the nation, and the common good for the world.
Second, the CPC has adapted Marxism to the Chinese context. The Party applies the theory to China’s realities, and turns it into something of our own, ushering new chapters of Marxism. The CPC led by Mao Zedong, considering the reality of China, opened up a correct road of encircling the cities from the rural areas and then capturing them, and finally seized the political power. The Party is able to reflect on its past experience, while not clinging to any development model that has been proven wrong; it is able to raise and stick to the idea that China should “blaze a path of our own and build socialism with Chinese characteristics”, while not veering toward capitalism or democratic-socialism; it has been able to replace the planned economy with a socialist market economy, while rejecting the practices of neo-liberalism; it is able to fully engage China in economic globalization in the course of opening-up, while adhering to the policy of independence.
Third, the CPC embraces self-reform to stay vibrant and resilient. The CPC has been able to face up to its mistakes, correct them, and bravely embrace self-reform, no matter how painful it is. In January 1935 during the Red Army’s Long March, the CPC Central Committee convened the Zunyi Meeting to correct the “left” mistakes; the meeting saved the revolution and the Party. During the years in Yan’an, Chairman Mao Zedong mulled over a new path to break the historical cycle of rise and fall, and the path was democracy. At the 2nd Plenary Session of the 7th CPC Central Committee in March 1949, Chairman Mao instructed that Party members must “remain modest, prudent and free from arrogance and rashness in their style of work, and preserve the style of plain living and hard working”. The 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee in 1978 corrected the mistake of the decade-long “Cultural Revolution”, and steered China toward reform and opening-up. Since the 18th National Congress of the Party, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as its core has stressed the need for effective self-supervision and strict self-governance of the Party. It has taken steps to deter corruption, in both mindset and institution. While modernizing China, the CPC has never ceased in modernizing itself. These two processes have complemented and reinforced each other, and taken together, have contributed to the success story of China.
2.Under the Party's leadership China has grown from a country invaded and exploited by foreign powers into one of the world’s major powers. How would you explain this extraordinary process in just around seven decades?
Just as you said, the CPC really has written an extraordinary chapter in the past 72 years. While answering the first question, I have already explained the CPC’s great success. Now I am happy to briefly share with you the CPC’s glorious history, which can help you understand the reasons better.
After the Opium War in 1840, repeated aggression by Western imperialists reduced China to the status of a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society and subjected the Chinese people to miserable conditions. The national crisis and social crisis were unprecedentedly grave. Through the Movement of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, the Hundred Days’ Reform of the Wuxu Year (1898), the Yihetuan Movement and the 1911 Revolution led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the Chinese people carried out dauntless struggles and numerous people with lofty ideals were trying to explore strenuously ways of salvaging the country and the nation. But the “prescriptions” such as constitutional monarchy, and presidential, parliamentary and multi-party systems all ended in failure one after another. China was still suffering from impoverishment and long-standing debility.
The revolution of China has embraced a brand-new start since the establishment of the CPC. From 1921 to 1949, with 28 years of struggle, the CPC led the Chinese people to defeat the Japanese invaders, topple the corrupt Kuomintang reactionaries, complete the New Democratic Revolution, and establish the People's Republic of China. From 1949 to 1978, the CPC united the people and led them in completing a new democratic revolution, establishing socialism as China's basic system, abolishing all systems of exploitation, vigorously advancing socialist construction, and preparing a solid material and technological basis. From 1978 to 2012, the CPC has united and led the Chinese people in launching the great new revolution of reform and opening up, and liberating and developing social productive forces. Thus China's overall national strength increased notably, people's living standards improved greatly, and the international standing of China rose significantly .
Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era. The CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core strove to deepen reforms to give new impetus to development, fight corruption with an uncompromising posture to purify political ecology, and resolved outstanding issues concerning people’s livelihood, writing a new chapter in the course of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. Since the 19th National Congress of CPC in 2017, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi as the core, the Chinese people have overcome all difficulties and obstacles as we forge ahead. In 2020, China made a major strategic achievement in fighting COVID-19. China became the only major economy in the world that pocketed positive economic growth at 2.3% in 2020, with its GDP exceeding 100 trillion yuan for the first time, which fully demonstrates the huge superiority of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the strong governance of the CPC.
All in all, in the past 100 years, the CPC has led the Chinese people of all ethnic groups in realizing national independence and people’s liberation, blazing a right path to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. China has achieved a tremendous transformation from standing up, growing rich and becoming strong. Socialism with Chinese characteristics has achieved a tremendous transformation from its establishment, development to improvement. The Chinese people have achieved a tremendous transformation from the days of scarcity to a life of moderate prosperity. The CPC has created “China miracles” in the development histories of the Chinese nation, world socialism and human development.
3. As someone who has lived in China (Hong Kong and Macao) for four decades, I am impressed by the Party’s success in poverty alleviation, something no other country of scale has achieved so far. What is the next step to raise the Chinese people’s standard of living?
The CPC is committed to poverty elimination and has lifted some 800 million people out of poverty since the reform and opening-up which was launched some 40 years ago. In particular, since the 18th CPC National Congress, China launched a monumental anti-poverty campaign on a scale unseen anywhere in the world and has achieved a complete victory. By early 2021, China had lifted 98.99 million poor rural residents under the current poverty line out of poverty, creating another miracle that will go down in history and a major contribution to the global poverty reduction cause.
In the past 8 years of the remarkable historical journey of poverty elimination, General Secretary Xi Jinping has played a leading role and adopted a series of extraordinary policies and measures. Thus we have made historical achievements in poverty elimination, embarked on a path of poverty reduction with Chinese characteristics, and formed anti-poverty with Chinese characteristic theory. We uphold the party's leadership and provide a strong political and organizational guarantee for poverty alleviation. We adhere to the people-centered development thinking and unswervingly follow the path of common prosperity. We persist in giving full play to the political advantages of our country's socialist system that can concentrate its efforts on major issues, and form a common will and common action for poverty alleviation. We adhere to the strategy of precise poverty alleviation and use development methods to eliminate the root causes of poverty, and always emphasize that precision is the most important thing in poverty alleviation. We persist in mobilizing the enthusiasm, initiative and creativity of the broad masses of poor people to stimulate the endogenous motivation for poverty alleviation. We persist in promoting the virtues of harmony and mutual assistance, solidarity and mutual assistance, and creating a strong atmosphere for the whole society to help the poor. We insist on seeking truth and being pragmatic, and be more realistic, so as to really help the poor, the really poor, and get rid of real poverty.
Building on this victory, the CPC will lead the Chinese people to solve the problem of unbalanced and inadequate development and to promote well-rounded human development and common prosperity for everyone. The 5th Plenary Session of the 19th National Congress calls for “more notable and substantial progress in promoting common prosperity for everyone”. The 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development clarifies that Zhejiang Province is expected to set an example for promoting common prosperity.
We will consolidate poverty alleviation achievements by initiating a drive of rural vitalization. To ensure the sustainability of poverty eradication, we will improve dynamic monitoring of any trends indicating a return to poverty, regularly check on key groups such as those who are still vulnerable to fall back into poverty, and foster long-term industries for them to have stable employment. Systems and practices that have been proven effective, such as eastern-western collaboration and paired-up assistance will be continued and improved. Early this year, China unveiled policies to comprehensively push forward rural vitalization and accelerate the modernization of agriculture and rural areas. Meanwhile, the National Administration for Rural Revitalization was formally inaugurated.
According to China’s 14th Five-Year Plan for national economic and social development, we will continue to narrow the development gap between urban and rural areas of China, and make sure that the low-income population and the less developed areas can share the benefits of our economic development. We will strive to improve people’s livelihood by deepening reforms in areas of employment, public education and health. We will strengthen the social security network and provide better care for the aged and young. With this we should see that our people will always have a strong sense of fulfillment, happiness, and security.
4. President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has won worldwide accolades. How do you see Macao's future role in the Initiative?
Macao has been an important stop of the Maritime Silk Road since ancient time. With its special geographic location and the “One Country, Two Systems” advantage, as well as its close links with the Portuguese-speaking countries in language, regulations, laws and culture, Macao plays an irreplaceable role and influence in the Belt and Road Initiative.
According to the Arrangement on Supporting Macao’s full Participation in the Belt and Road Initiative signed between the National Development and Reform Commission and the Macao SAR Government at the end of 2018, Macao is expected to explore such opportunities as follows:
First, in the area of finance, Macao is supposed to cooperate with institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Silk Road Fund and the China-Africa Development Fund. Macao will take full advantage of its close links with the EU, ASEAN countries and Portuguese-speaking countries to promote bilateral and multilateral investments, and to provide financing services for enterprises and other special services such as RMB clearing and wealth management.
Second, in the area of economic and trade cooperation, Macao is supposed to take advantage of its geographic location and free port status to become an important hub of transportation, trade and logistics, so as to strengthen its role as a world centre of tourism and leisure, and an economic and trade cooperation service platform for China and Portuguese-speaking countries.
Third, in the area of people-to-people exchanges, Macao has a large community of returned overseas Chinese and is strengthening its position as a base for exchange and cooperation where Chinese culture is the mainstream and diverse cultures coexist. Macao is expected to deepen its exchanges and cooperation with the Belt and Road countries/regions in areas of culture, sister cities, youth, education and civil society.
I believe through joining the Belt and Road Initiative, Macao will not only expand opportunities for its own development, but also better align itself with the national strategy and serve our nation’s overall development needs.
5. For Macao, the Party's internationally recognized "One Country, Two Systems" principle has been the mainstay of its existence for over two decades. Without the principle the establishment of the Macao Special Administrative Region in 1999, including its smooth transfer of administration, and its rapid social and economic development ever since, would hardly have been possible. Could you elaborate on the principle's present and future, how to practise it further?
“One Country, Two Systems” is a pioneering initiative with no historical precedent and a major contribution China has made to the world. This great model subverted the conventional wisdom that lost territories could only be reclaimed by force. It embodies the political wisdom of the CPC, and contributes a splendid China chapter to the history of political civilization. In the 1980s, CPC leaders, including Deng Xiaoping, came up with the innovative concept of “One Country, Two Systems”. The two special administrative regions were established according to Article 31 of the 1982 Constitution, that is, “The state may establish special administrative regions when necessary”. The CPC then led efforts to formulate the Hong Kong Basic Law and the Macao Basic Law, devise the institutional framework of “One Country, Two Systems”, and establish the country’s two special administrative regions. Therefore, the Constitution is the parent law to which the Basic Law is subordinate. Macao has the obligation to respect and abide by the nation’s Constitution since its return to the motherland.
The cause of “One Country, Two Systems”, under the leadership of the CPC, has been making steady progress. Macao has got closer and closer to the motherland. At the beginning of the establishment of the Macao SAR, the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis was still unsettled, and the SARS epidemic broke out. The Central Government started the Individual Visit Scheme and signed the Mainland and Macao Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), which quickly helped Macao's economy recover and develop. In 2008, the international financial crisis hit Macao. The Central Government once again extended a helping hand in time and announced 9 specific measures to stabilize the Macao economy and help the SAR cope with the crisis. With the strong support of the Central Government, the Macao SAR has properly handled a series of economic and social issues, completed local legislation on safeguarding national security, and maintained economic and social prosperity and stability.
In February 2019, the CPC Central Committee and State Council issued the “Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area”, which not only identified Macao as one of the four central cities, but also included Macao in the innovation and technology corridor of the Greater Bay Area, unveiling a new chapter for Macao’s development. Under the Basic Law, “Macao people governing Macao” has been fully implemented, and the state fully supports Macao. Whether it is to resist natural disasters or fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the motherland always provides Macao with necessary material and policy support as soon as possible. The Central Government has also officially included Macao in the country's overall development plan, allowing Macao to develop and progress together with the motherland. Today, Macao’s moderate diversification of its economy has achieved initial results, and emerging industries such as MICE, traditional Chinese medicine, and special finance are unfolding. The level of people’s livelihood and welfare has been significantly improved. Participating in the joint construction of the “Belt and Road” Initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area have made positive progress. The sense of gain and happiness of Macao residents is getting stronger.
It is a historical fact that without the leadership of the CPC, there would be no New China, or socialism with Chinese characteristics. Neither would there have been the smooth return of Macao nor the prosperity and stability after its return to the motherland. The CPC is the true pioneer, leader, practitioner and defender of the cause of the “One Country, Two Systems”. The CPC has kept enriching and advancing the policy of “One Country, Two Systems” both theoretically and practically, elevating this concept from being a “novel and major issue” of governance to a “fundamental policy” and “outstanding strength” of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Macao’s achievements should be accredited to the motherland, especially the strong support of the Communist Party of China as the supreme political leadership.
Going forward, Macao will be able to derive more opportunities from the country’s new development strategy, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the 14th Five-Year Plan. Facts will continue to prove that by strategically positioning itself and playing a more active role in the national development, Macao will surely be able to develop new strengths and achieve further development to the benefit of the people. The Central Government will, as always, continue to uphold and improve the “One Country, Two Systems” framework, ensure “patriots administering Macao”, better safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, better implement the comprehensive jurisdiction of the Central Government, better promote the lasting prosperity and stability of Macao, and better safeguard the freedom and democratic rights of Macao residents.
6. How does the Foreign Affairs Ministry Commission support and promote the further development of Macao's external relations?
Over the past 22 years since the establishment of the Macao SAR, the Commissioner's Office has fully and faithfully implemented the policies of “One Country, Two Systems”, “Macao people governing Macao" and a high degree of autonomy for the region, upheld and acted in strict accordance with the Constitution and the Macao Basic Law, resolutely safeguarded China's sovereignty, security and development interests, created a favorable development environment for the cause of "One Country, Two Systems" in Macao by observing the purpose of "diplomacy for the people" and delivering concrete and quality services to Macao citizens.
We firmly guard against foreign interference in Macao affairs, maintain the hard-earned positive developments in Macao, and resolutely safeguard Macao's enduring prosperity and stability. We take full advantage of our diplomatic resources to support Macao's external exchanges and cooperation on all fronts, and to facilitate Macao's pursuit to build “one centre, one platform and one base”. We actively promote Macao-related foreign affairs in the area of treaties and other legal matters including the application of international conventions in Macao, and enhance Macao's international influence. We always fulfill the purpose of “diplomacy for the people, diplomacy for Macao” by providing quality consular service and enhancing the international recognition of the Macao SAR passport. When the epidemic situation stabilized, we timely resumed Chinese mainland visa applications of all categories for foreigners in the Macao SAR. We continuously share the story of Macao's successful implementation of the “One Country, Two Systems” policy with the world, hold various contests and activities to deepen national and patriotism education in Macao such as “Young Diplomats on Campus” and “International Law Lectures on Campus”, as well as enhance Macao youth's ability in international communication and exchanges.
Last year, the Commissioner’s Office coordinated the Macao Emergency Medical Team to join the Chinese medical team on COVID-19 to Algeria and Sudan, implementing the concept of building a global community of health for all. We recommended two young civil servants of the Macao SAR to join the UN “Junior Professional Officer” project for the first time, creating a new training platform for Macao’s young people to strengthen international competitiveness. In the future, the Commissioner’s Office will continue to support Macao in expanding foreign exchanges and cooperation, further utilize diplomatic resources, and support the Macao SAR to build an important node city and develop friendly exchanges and pragmatic cooperation with countries along the Belt and Road Initiative. We will promote further integration of Macao’s “one centre, one base, one platform” construction with the building of a community with a shared future for mankind and the Belt and Road Initiative, so that Macao compatriots can feel a real sense of gain and happiness.