Less than a week after the conclusion of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) , Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee，president of the People’s Republic of China, and chairman of the Central Military Commission, led the members of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau to visit Yan’an, an old revolutionary base in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province. The members are Li Qiang, Zhao Leji, Wang Huning, Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang and Li Xi. They were there to pay tribute to this sacred land of the Chinese revolution, review the eventful days of the Party Central Committee in Yan’an in the years of the revolutionary war, commemorate the great achievements made by revolutionaries of the older generation, and manifest the conviction of the new central leadership to carry forward the Party’s revolutionary legacy and fighting spirit and present an excellent answer sheet to the people and posterity with new achievements on the road ahead. Xi stressed that we will carry forward the great founding spirit of the Party, the Yan’an Spirit, and our fighting spirit, remain confident in our history, and exhibit greater historical initiative to strive in unity for the fulfillment of the objectives and tasks set forth at the 20th CPC National Congress.
On the morning of October 27, Xi Jinping and the others arrived at the revolutionary site of Yangjialing in northwest Yan'an. In November of 1938, all departments of the CPC Central Committee moved from Fenghuang Hill to Yangjialing, where the CPC held its Seventh National Congress, launched the Yan’an Rectification Movement, and led the Chinese people in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.
Xi and other leading comrades first visited the site of the Seventh CPC National Congress, which was held from April to June in 1945. There were only over 50 members when our Party was founded. By the time of the Seventh CPC National Congress, this number had increased to 1.21 million. Xi Jinping walked slowly to pay his tribute to the site, and said that the Seventh CPC National Congress marked a major milestone in the history of our Party, suggesting that our Party was becoming increasingly mature as far as its political direction, ideology and organizational structure were concerned. Politically, after the Yan’an Rectification Movement, the whole Party was united together under the guidance of Comrade Mao Zedong, realizing unprecedented unity and solidarity within our Party. Ideologically, the Party established the guiding role of Mao Zedong Thought in the whole Party and enshrined it in the Party Constitution. Organizationally, our Party formed a group of time-tested statesmen who held high the banner of Mao Zedong. The Seventh CPC National Congress played an incredibly important role in the history of our Party, pointing out the right direction and charting the correct course for our Party in achieving one victory after another ever since.
Then, they arrived at the former residences of Mao Zedong and other revolutionaries of the older generation, where they recalled stories of those revolutionaries at Yangjialing and learned about how these revolutionary sites had been protected. During the Yan’an Period (1935-1948), Mao stayed at Yangjialing for the longest time, where the well-known “cave-dwelling conversation” with acclaimed patriot and educationist Huang Yanpei happened. The conversation was mainly about how to escape the historical cycle of rise and fall, how to avert the possibility of a government’s policies ending with the death of its leader, and ultimately how a political power can maintain long-lasting successful governance. Mao had offered the first answer to the question -- placing the government under the supervision of the people. With the practice of full and rigorous Party self-governance since the 18th CPC National Congress, the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has provided the second answer -- carrying out Party’s self-reform. Xi noted that the revolutionary sites had witnessed a glorious journey our Party had traveled during the Yan’an Period when it led the Chinese revolution and struggled to adapt Marxism to the Chinese context and the needs of that era. That journey is like a book that is worth reading all the time, said Xi, adding that each time he came here to visit the sites, he was struck with new insight and great inspiration. He urged solid efforts to improve management of these sites and thoroughly study their revolutionary past so as to better tell the stories of Yangjialing and of the Seventh CPC National Congress.
A docent introduced how people in northern Shaanxi composed the song The East Is Red based on the folksong of White Horse and sang it for the leaders. Xi pointed it out that the works of literature and art in praise of the Party and Chairman Mao were all voluntarily created by the people, which fully demonstrated that Mao was chosen by the people and supported by the people.
They then traveled to Yan’an Revolutionary Memorial Hall and visited an exhibition titled The Great Journey -- CPC Central Committee’s 13 Years in Yan’an.
From 1935 to 1948, the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Border Region centered around Yan’an was where the CPC Central Committee headquartered. It also served as the political guidance center for the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression as well as the general rear area for the Chinese People’s War of Liberation. In a comprehensive and systematic manner, the exhibition presented the glorious history of how the CPC Central Committee and revolutionaries of the older generation like Mao led the Chinese revolution to success from Yan’an through adapting the basic tenets of Marxism to the specific practices of the Chinese revolution. Xi and the other leaders visited the exhibition chapters “the Foothold of the CPC Central Committee and the Red Army during the Long March”, “the Center of Political Guidance for the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression”, “the Model Pilot Zone of New Democracy”, “the Point of Departure for Winning the National Victory”, “the Lasting Glory of Yan’an Spirit”, and other chapters. Xi would once in a while stop to watch a particular exhibit and reminisce with everyone at presence about the extraordinary years of the CPC Central Committee in Yan’an.
Xi delivered an important speech at the end of the visit. He said that Yan’an is a sacred place of the Chinese revolution and the cradle of New China. The CPC Central Committee and revolutionaries of the older generation, led by Chairman Mao Zedong, lived and struggled in Yan’an for 13 years from 1935 to 1948. There, under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee, the revolutionary cause developed from its low tide to high tide and realized its historic transition, thus turning the tables when it came to China’s future and destiny. The towering Baota Mountain and rolling Yanhe River have witnessed the great endeavors. Yan’an, with all kinds of food grain, nourished and saw the development of the CPC in strength, and supported the victory of the Chinese revolution. Yan’an and its people have made tremendous contribution to the victory of the Chinese revolution, which we should never forget, Xi said.
“I have lived and worked in Yan’an for seven years,” Xi said affectionately. “My elder generation also once lived here, and I am quite familiar with the region. When I was sent to northern Shaanxi and worked in the fields as a farmer, every time I got a chance to come to Yan’an, I would visit those revolutionary sites, including the site of the Seventh CPC National Congress, Yangjialing, Zaoyuan and Fenghuang Hill. After working in the CPC Central Committee, I’ve paid three inspection tours here,” he said. “This time, with other members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, I come here to manifest that the new central leadership will inherit and carry forward the glorious traditions and fine work styles of the Party cultivated during the Yan’an Period, and carry forward the Yan’an Spirit,” Xi said.
He stressed, the glorious traditions and fine conduct of the CPC cultivated and carried forward during the years in Yan’an, and the Yan’an Spirit characterized by firm and correct political direction, ideological line of emancipating the mind and seeking truth from facts, the principle of serving the people wholeheartedly, and the style of self-reliance and hard work, are an invaluable source of inspiration for the Party, and should be passed down from generation to generation.
Xi noted, the firm and correct political direction was the essence of the Yan’an Spirit. In 1938, when replying to the question “What should be learned at the Yan’an Anti-Japanese Military and Political College”, Comrade Mao Zedong pointed out, “First and foremost, we need to learn about a political direction”. All Party members must adhere to the correct political direction, resolutely implement the Party’s underlying theories, basic guidelines and fundamental principles, thoroughly implement the Party Central Committee’s decisions and plans, so as to further advance the great cause pioneered by revolutionaries of the older generation.
Xi stressed, during the Yan’an Period, our Party put forward the fundamental principle of serving the people wholeheartedly and wrote it into the Party Constitution, emphasizing that “the contingent of the CPC was established for the liberation of the people and always stood ready to work for their interests”, and requiring all Party officials to “stand firmly at the side of common people”, and thus bringing about a vivid picture in which “officials were all public servants in people’s eyes”. All Party members must stand firmly with the people, implement the Party’s general principle, put into practice the mass line, maintain close ties with the people, take the initiative to apply the people-centered development philosophy to all work, and achieve solid progress in promoting common prosperity, so that the gains of modernization could benefit all the people fairly.
Xi noted, after settling down in Yan’an, the Party Central Committee and the Red Army faced extremely tough conditions due to the enemy’s military encirclement and economic blockade. Soldiers and civilians in Yan’an had enthusiastically responded to Comrade Mao Zedong’s call of “drawing on our own labor to supply ourselves with adequate food and clothing” and started an enthusiastic production campaign, which provided crucial support for the frontline in the war against Japanese aggression. Each and every Party member must carry forward the spirit of self-reliance and hard work, which shall never be repudiated no matter how well-off we become in the future, and they should also work hard in a down-to-earth and practical manner to concentrate on managing our own affairs well and support the development of our country and our nation with our own strength.
Xi stressed that, back in the days in Yan’an, Comrade Mao Zedong and other revolutionaries of the older generation lived in cave-dwellings, eating coarse grain for meals and wearing rough clothes. This “Yan’an conduct” had defeated the “Xi’an conduct.” All Party members should carry forward the glorious traditions and fine conduct of revolutionaries of the older generation and Chinese Communists, advance the Party’s self-reform with courage, resolutely exercise full and rigorous self-governance of the Party, and always maintain our Party’s advanced nature and integrity, enabling our Party to always remain the strong leadership core in the cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Xi pointed out that during the Yan’an Period, the Party, with tenacious fighting spirit and exceptional fighting ability, had effectively carried out struggle against Japanese militarist aggression, and effectively responded to a series of major challenges such as the Xi’an Incident, the July Seventh Incident and the Chongqing negotiations. Also, the Party had effectively led and commanded the revolutionary struggles nationwide and effectively tackled the targeted attacks by the Kuomintang-led forces on the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Border Region. With merely “millet plus rifles,” the Party had opened up new prospect for the Chinese revolution. The whole Party should carry forward such fighting spirit, improve fighting ability, resolutely surmount all difficulties and challenges on the road ahead and harness our indomitable fighting spirit to open up new horizons for our cause.
Xi stressed that the Party’s 20th National Congress had set forth major principles and policies for the Party and the country at present and for some time to come, and drawn up a splendid blueprint of promoting national rejuvenation through a Chinese path to modernization. Let us embark on the new journey, and set out toward our new goal!
Before he left, Xi had cordial talks with some veterans of the Red Army and the Eighth Route Army, descendants of revolutionary martyrs, local Party School and cadre college teachers and staff members of the memorial. He encouraged them to promote revolutionary spirit, tell well stories of the Party, so as to inspire people to steadfastly follow the Party and its guidance, and strive unremittingly to realize the Chinese Dream of great national rejuvenation. Lasting and loud applause rose at the site.
Liu Guozhong, Chen Xi, leading officials of relevant central authorities and Shaanxi Province attended the activities.