BEIJING (Reuters) – Developed Western nations have long-term economic, technological and military advantages over China and the Communist Party has to realize that some people will use West's strong points to criticize socialism's failings, President Xi Jinping said.
FILE PHOTO – Chinese President Xi Jinping holds a news conference after a meeting with French President at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France March 25, 2019. Yoan Valat / Pool via REUTERS
Since assuming power in China more than six years ago, Xi has ramped up efforts to ensure total party loyalty and discipline, including a sweeping crackdown on corruption, warning the party's very survival is at stake.
This year, which has been marked by a series of sensitive anniversaries including three decades since the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in and around Tiananmen Square, has seen a further increase in calls for party loyalty.
On Monday, leading the Qiushi theoretical journal, which means "Seeking Truth," published long-lasting excerpts for the first time from a speech, Xi gave in early 2013 shortly after becoming a party boss, warning of the party faces.
Quoting Marx and Engels, Xi said socialism would inevitably vanquish capitalism, but that would be a long historical process. China practices what it calls socialism with Chinese characteristics.
China must "fully appraise the objective of the long-term advantage of the long-term advantage of Western developed countries in the economic, scientific and military fields and conscientiously prepare for all aspects of long-term cooperation and struggle between the two social systems" , Xi said.
The party also needed to "face the reality that some people compare the good qualities of Western developed nations with the socialist development insufficiencies of our country and offer criticism of it," he added.
While the party has committed "big mistakes" like the Cultural Revolution, when children turned on parents and students on teachers after Mao Zedong declared class war, party history is "generally speaking glorious," Xi said.
Those who criticize the revolution – which brought the Communist Party to power in 1949 – are simply trying to incite the overthrow of the party, he added.
But China needs to stick to its landmark economic reforms begun in 1978, without which the party could have fallen, Xi said.
The party "may even have faced a serious crisis, like the death of the party and the death of the country encountered by the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries."
But China had proved the naysayers wrong, Xi added.
"Both history and reality tell us that only socialism can save China. Only socialism with Chinese characteristics can develop China. This is the conclusion of history and the choice of the people. "
Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by Gao Liangping; Editing by Nick Macfie